Layoffs at Prominent Startups Triggered by COVID-19
As the pandemic reverberates through almost every industry imaginable, tech startups are also feeling the pain.
Since mid-March, countless startups and unicorns have undergone layoffs.
Today’s infographic pulls data from Layoffs.fyi, and navigates the cascading layoffs across 30 of the most recognizable startups in America. Each of the companies have slashed over 250 employees between March 11 and May 26, 2020—capturing a snapshot of the continuing fallout of COVID-19.
Silicon Valley Takes a Hit
Unsurprisingly, many of the hardest hit startups are related to the travel and mobility industry.
Closing 45 offices, Uber has laid off 6,700 employees since mid-March. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who was granted a $45M earnings package in 2018, announced he will also waive his $1M base salary for the remainder of the year.
|Company||# Layoffs||% of Employees||Industry|
*Layoffs reported between March 11-May 26, 2020
Meanwhile, as room bookings dropped by over 40% across several countries, Airbnb laid off a quarter of its workforce. The tech darling is anticipating a $2.4B revenue shortfall in 2020.
Like many other big names—including Lyft, Uber, and WeWork—Airbnb is struggling to achieve profitability. In the first nine months of 2019, it lost $322M at the height of the market cycle.
Until 2021, gig-economy revenues are projected to drop by at least 30%.
International Startups Struggling
Startups in the U.S. aren’t the only ones scrambling to conserve cash and cut costs.
Brazil-based unicorn Stone has let go of 20% of its workforce. The rapidly growing digital payments company includes Warren Buffett as a major stakeholder, holding an 8% share as of March 2020.
At the same time, India-based ride-hailing Ola has witnessed revenue declines of 95% since mid-March. It laid off 1,400 employees as bookings drastically declined.
|Company||# Layoffs||% of Employees||Location|
Similarly, Uber India has rivaled Ola in dominance across India’s $10B ride-hailing market since launching three years after Ola, in 2013. Now, almost 25% of the Uber India workforce have been laid off.
Of course, these reports do not fully take into account the growing impact of COVID-19, but help paint a picture as the cracks emerge.
While the job market remains murky, what startups are looking to hire?
Coursera, an online education startup, listed 60 openings in May. By the end of the year, the company plans to hire 250 additional staff. Within the peak of widespread global lockdowns, the platform attracted 10M new users.
Meanwhile, Canva, an Australia-based graphic design unicorn, is seeking to fill 100 positions worldwide. In partnership with Google for Education, Canva offers project-based learning tools designed for classrooms, in addition to free graphic design resources.
At the same time, tech heavyweights Facebook and Amazon reported openings. Booming startups such as Plaid, Zoom, and Pinterest are also listing new positions as shifting consumer demand continues to shape unpredictable and historic hiring markets.
China’s Growing Trade Dominance in Latin America
Over the last two decades, trade between China and Latin America has grown significantly, which has threatened U.S. dominance in the region.
China’s Growing Trade Dominance in Latin America
Over the past 20 years, China’s economic presence around the world has grown significantly, including in Latin America.
Now, China is one of Latin America’s largest trade partners, which is threatening U.S. dominance in the region. This graphic by Latinometrics uses IMF data to show trade flows between China and Latin America since the 1980s.
Two Decades of Trade Growth
Four decades ago, the United States had a much stronger trade relationship with Latin America than China did. In 1981, Cuba was the only Latin American country trading more with China than the United States.
Here’s a look at total trade flows between Latin America and the two countries since 1980. Latinometrics calculated trade flows as total exports plus imports.
|Trade Flows by Year||U.S. & Latin America||China & Latin America|
Things stayed relatively stagnant until the early 2000s. Then suddenly, at the start of the new millennium, trade between China and Latin America started to ramp up.
This uptick was driven largely by Chinese demand for things like copper, oil, and other raw materials that the country needed to help fuel its industrial revolution.
Momentum has continued for two decades, and now China is the top trading partner in nine different Latin American countries. In fact, in 2021, imports and exports between China and Latin America (excluding Mexico) reached $247 billion—that’s $73 billion more than trade flows with the United States that same year.
Trade between China and Latin America is expected to keep growing, at least for the time being. By 2035, trade flows between the two regions are projected to more than double, according to World Economic Forum.
China’s Global Economic Presence
China’s trade takeover of Latin America speaks to a wider trend that’s happening on a global scale—over the last two decades, China has surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest trading partner.
While China is likely to remain the world’s leading trade partner for the foreseeable future, growth is likely to slow in the short-term, given ongoing supply chain issues and geopolitical tensions that have disrupted the global economy.
Visualized: The Value of U.S. Imports of Goods by State
U.S. goods imports were worth $2.8T in 2021. From east coast to west, this visualization breaks down imports on a state-by-state basis
Visualized: The Value of U.S. Imports of Goods by State 2021
For nearly 50 years and counting, U.S. imports have exceeded exports—and 2021 was no exception. Imports of goods to the U.S. equaled $2.8 trillion, relative to $1.8 trillion for exports, putting the 2021 goods trade deficit at its highest level on record.
Using the most recent data on global trade from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, we take a closer look at the value of American goods imports and visualize them state by state.
The Top 10 Importing States, by Total Goods Value
The top 10 states by import value account for 64.5% of all U.S. imports, or $1.8 trillion.
|Rank||State||Import Value ($B)||Share (%)|
|Top 10 States||$1,838.6||64.5%|
Overall, the goods trade deficit—the amount by which a country’s imports exceed its exports—was more than $1 trillion in 2021, increasing over 18% from the previous year. Goods imports specifically increased by nearly $502 billion, a 21% increase year-over-year.
California, the U.S.’s top importer, saw over $470 billion worth of goods come in last year. Some of its big ticket items fell in line with the state’s tech sector’s needs, like automatic data processing machines and accessories and parts for said machinery. California’s own deficit is quite high—the state’s goods exports were only valued at approximately $175 billion. The state’s busy ports are a key entry point for goods arriving from Asia, which helps explain this deficit.
In contrast, the country’s top export state is Texas at $375 billion, outweighing its imports and shipping out goods like coal and petroleum. All but three of the country’s top importers—Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Georgia—were also among the country’s top 10 exporters.
Where are Imports Coming From?
Here’s a look at the country’s top trade partners for goods imports and the value of their imports in 2022 as of April.
|Rank||Country||Import Value ($B) as of April '22||Share of Total|
|#7||🇰🇷 South Korea||$36.5||3.5%|
Over half of the top import partners for the United States are located in Asia. China is by far America’s top source of goods, making up 17% of the country’s imports.
Meanwhile, Canada and Mexico each account for roughly 14% of America’s goods imports due to the close proximity, strong economic ties, and trade agreements.
What’s Being Imported?
Imports of goods increased to a value of $2.8 trillion in 2021, the highest on record. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, industrial supplies and materials and crude oil saw some of the most notable increases.
Consumer goods like cell phones, household goods, toys, games, and sporting equipment increased in import value as well, reflecting a trend that the pandemic’s online shopping and delivery demand started.
Additionally, imports of foods, feeds, and beverages were the highest on record in 2021. It is also notable that in April of 2022, exports of goods hit the highest number on record at nearly $175 billion, with exports of feeds, food, and beverage also reaching the highest number of exports recorded. This is likely attributed to food shortages worldwide caused by the war in Ukraine.
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