Lyft workers, like so many others in the tech industry this year, opened their inboxes today to read some dreaded news: Nearly 700 of their coworkers would lose their jobs.
The company’s two co-founders, John Zimmer and Logan Green, sent the memo to staff Wednesday confirming earlier reports by The Wall Street Journal suggesting the company would part ways with 13% of its workforce. Fears over an impending recession and increasing rideshare insurance were cited among several reasons for the layoffs. The founders claimed they, “worked hard” to bring down costs over the summer but ultimately to no avail.
“The layoffs impact every organization in the company, and were based on deprioritized initiatives, an effort to reduce management layers, broader savings goals, and, in some cases, performance trajectory,” the founders wrote.
“We are not immune to the realities of inflation and a slowing economy.”
In an email sent to Gizmodo, a Lyft spokesperson said they were “confident” in the company’s overall trajectory moving forward.
“It was important to take these proactive actions to ensure we can accelerate execution, stay focused on the best opportunities to drive profitable growth, and deliver strong business results in 2023 and beyond,” the spokesperson said.
Lyft’s latest round of exits weren’t entirely unforeseen. In July, the company laid off around 60 workers in its rental division. Lyft indeed ended up scuttling its entire long-term rental service following the layoffs according to Reuters. Months before that, Lyft said it would slow down hiring to evaluate budget expenses. Still, though maybe not totally unforeseen, the recent 700 staff layoffs eclipses the former in terms of scale and overall potential impact to the company’s core business.
So far, this year’s layoffs have only managed to touch one side of the ride sharing duopoly. Though Uber did lay off around 3,700 employees back in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, they’ve since managed to cruise by without suffering additional major staff removals. Lyft also cut around 1,000 employees around that same time. It should be noted none of these layoff impacts any of either of these company’s drivers, since they are not officially recognized as employees because, uh, you know, gig work.
The tech industry’s total job death toll in 2022 surpassed 45,000 in late October according to a database maintained by Crunchbase. Those layoffs have touched just about every corner of the tech sector, from overzealous crypto upshots to some of tech’s biggest players like Snap and Microsoft.
Update 4:00 p.m: Added statement from Lyft.