The White House on Tuesday reacted to the news of massive layoffs by tech titans like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Meta. Just last week, Microsoft and Google fired 22,000 employees. When asked about firings by these major IT companies, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said US President Joe Biden understands firsthand how the impact of losing a job can have on a family. "He understands that very personally," she said.
The press secretary was also asked whether these layoffs were due to fears of a recession in the US. To this, she said: "The President has said this many times: He’s going to do everything that he can to make sure this is an economy that works for everyone, that works from the — from the bottom up and middle out."
On January 20, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced 12,000 job cuts across the globe, becoming the latest tech giant after Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon to retrench staff amid the global economic downturn. Last week, Microsoft started laying off 10,000 or nearly 5 per cent of its workforce. Amazon has also begun cutting 18,000 jobs.
Jean-Pierre said the layoffs notwithstanding, unemployment rates were decreasing in the US. "When you look at the CPI data, you look at PPI. And so more broadly, again, when it comes to the economy, layoffs remain near record lows according to job opening data," she said, adding that she would not get into specifics or why this was happening.
"This (layoffs) is something for individual companies to speak about. I can speak of how the economy has actually been more stable and steady because of the President's actions," the secretary said.
When asked about the Indian IT professionals who are on H-1B visa and they will now have to leave the country in 60 days, Jean-Pierre said she did not have any specifics - "on that, when it comes to how they can stay here". She refrained from commenting on the difficulties being faced by tech professionals who are not getting an extension of their H-1B visas.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US firms to employ foreign workers in occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Indians make up a large proportion of the recipients of H-1B and other work visas granted to skilled foreign workers, many in the tech industry.
(With inputs from PTI)
Copyright©2023 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today