US officials unable to measure ‘hairing freeze’ impact, but confident current openings can limit damage

The government cannot properly measure the impact of “hiring freezes” in tech and finance companies, but officials remain bullish that current employment opportunities can mitigate any significant, negative effects.

The Department of Labor explained to FOX Business that the department doesn’t track any individual firm’s plan to enforce a “hiring freeze,” so it makes it difficult for the government to predict the impact that such policies will have on the jobs market.

“They could show up in regular payroll surveys, but because these are anonymous data, depressed hiring numbers couldn’t be directly linked to any firm that made public announcements of freezes,” a department spokesman said.

Reports over the past month have indicated that major tech companies have announced hiring freezes in response to the end of the pandemic tech boom – signaled by Netflix reporting its first subscriber loss in a decade and a cryptocurrency collapse triggered by the implosion of Terra, among other events.

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The Federal Reserve also spooked companies by hiking the interest rate in order to combat inflation, which sent investors fleeing from less-profitable companies.

Major tech companies such as Meta and Uber have slowed recruitment, while Tesla CEO Elon Musk ordered a worldwide hiring pause. Snap, Salesforce and Twitter have also slowed recruitment.

“We regularly re-evaluate our talent pipeline according to our business needs and in light of the expense guidance given for this earnings period, we are slowing its growth accordingly,” a spokesperson for Meta told FOX Business in a May. “However, we will continue to grow our workforce to ensure we focus on long term impact.”

No company has outright referred to these policy shifts as “hiring freezes,” instead referring to plans to better utilize existing employees or tighter standards of hiring.

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Snap CEO Evan Spiegel told employees that the company’s “most meaningful gain” in the coming months would result from “improved productivity from our existing team members” helping new team members, Bloomberg reported.

And in May Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi claimed that the company would treat it as a “privilege” for new employees to join the company.

“The least efficient marketing and incentive spend will be pulled back,” Khosrowshahi said in an email to staff on Sunday. “We will treat hiring as a privilege and be deliberate about when and where we add headcount. We will be even more hardcore about costs across the board.”

Inflation cooled expectations in other markets, such as home buying, which led JPMorgan Chase & Co to lay off more than 1,000 employees from its mortgage business, Reuters reported. Mortgage rates have started to rise along with the interest rate, diminishing interest from prospective buyers following a major boom earlier this year.

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A Chase spokesperson said that the staffing decisions were “the result of cyclical changes in the mortgage market,” and that the bank managed to shift many employees to new roles to avoid greater losses.

A White House spokesperson told FOX Business that the nation’s “historic labor market recovery” with over 8 million jobs added could serve as a possible safeguard against any concerns about the impact of “hiring freezes.”

“There are still 11 million job openings, which provide some cushion.”

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The US has continued to produce solid job growth through most of the first half of 2022, adding around 390,000 jobs in May and beating expectations of a significant slowdown in the face of historic inflation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release June job numbers on July 8.

FOX Business’ Lucas Manfredi contributed to this report.

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