Data: Layoffs.fyi;  Graphic: Axios Visuals
Data: Layoffs.fyi; Graphic: Axios Visuals

A sign of the economic times: A website that tracks startup layoffs serves as a recruiting tool, says Roger Lee, who founded the site, layoffs.fyi, in March 2020.

Why is this important: Despite what you hear about a recession, the labor market continues to spin.

State of play: While layoffs began to pick up again this spring, they have so far been mostly limited to fintech or lending, as well as crypto and real estate — the companies most directly impacted by rising prices. Fed rate, Lee points out.

  • Lee’s site, which tracks startups and tech companies that have recently gone public, is a good resource to follow (and use to screen talent).
  • “Recruiters and companies send me emails,” Lee told Axios. They send thank you notes because they used the site – which offers spreadsheets with the contact details of laid-off workers – to hire. Some ask him if they can plug his data directly into their recruiting software.

Driving the news: We’re all waiting for the jobs report later this week to get a better idea of ​​what’s going on.

  • Data released yesterday indicated that there was some cooling in May – but still plenty of jobs, as our friends at Axios Macro explained.
  • Lee’s website shows that June saw an increase in layoffs among startups – with 178 “layoff events” that put 16,032 people out of work. The site only tracks those that are publicly reported, so it’s probably understating the situation somewhat, he says.
  • Behind the surge: Startup funding and customer demand have declined — so companies need to manage costs accordingly, says Axios venture capital reporter Kia Kokalitcheva.

Past: Lee launched his website in March 2020, while he was home with his baby girl on leave. Unemployment was skyrocketing at the time, but the company he worked for continued to hire, and he thought the site might be useful for finding people.

  • “I was constantly updating the site,” he says.

Lighter layoffs as the Fed stepped in to end the craters. Then around March of this year, a new wave of layoffs in the startup world accelerated.

  • Real estate site Better.com was among the first in this new era, he says.

Rollback: About 20 years ago, a website called F’d Company tracked layoffs in the startup world with a level of snark that Lee, who was in high school at the time, intentionally avoids.

  • “Layoffs don’t please anyone,” he says. “These are real people.”

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