Layoffs have been a daily thing since October, coming so fast that it’s getting easier to imagine a teenage utopia, a world in which jobs no longer exist. It sure seems that way sometimes, with the rapidly accelerating numbers of “corporate restructurings” and closings we see on a weekly basis. Tech layoffs are closing in on 200,000, recruiting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas report. Job losses were up 74.2 percent in 2008. In the second half of the year, they grew 167 percent – three quarters of the year’s losses.
The recruiting firm believes that these trends will continue for quite a while. "Cuts could reach even higher in 2009, as there is no evidence yet that the economy has hit the bottom of this downward portion of the cycle. We almost certainly will not see a repeat of the 2008 first quarter, in which tech cuts totaled just 17,345."
CNBC’s Jim Goldman believes that the job cuts run the danger of targeting foreigners in the near future, as “with the H1B Visa application window opening on April 1, companies are beginning to feel a patriotic pressure to lay off foreigners over Americans.”
Goldman’s is an important perspective, one often lost in the rhetoric of outsourcing that often is the only coverage of the international infrastructure that forms Silicon Valley core.
Goldman cites tech lobbyist Carl Guardino, writing that 53 percent of US engineers are foreign born. The CNBC writer believes that focusing on xenophobic “restructuring solutions” will only exacerbate the economy’s decline.
“The bottom line: As grim as the economy is today," writes Goldman, "and as much as we might want to protect our citizens from losing jobs to foreigners, giving US citizens the inside track because of their citizenship over their abilities is a short-term fix with long-term, negative implications.”