Dell became the latest tech company to announce widespread layoffs today (Feb. 6). Per Bloomberg, the computer giant notified the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it will slash 6,650 jobs -- about 5% of its workforce. Dell CEO Jeff Clarke shared the news in a message to staff, writing, "There is no tougher decision, but one we had to make for our long-term health and success."
Dell's cuts come against a backdrop of significant layoffs in the banking and tech sectors. Amazon, Microsoft, Meta, and Google are among the companies that have cut head counts recently. But so far, the job losses haven't spread to many other industries. Quite the opposite, in fact. Last week, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that unemployment had hit a 54-year low.
Nobody has a crystal ball, so it's almost impossible to say whether tech job losses are an anomaly or an indication of what might happen in other sectors. That said, many economists still warn a recession is likely, in spite of positive jobs data. For example, Insider reports that Bank of America analysts think the positive job news could trigger more aggressive moves from the Federal Reserve, which in turn could lead to more economic difficulties.
It isn't easy to make decisions about your personal finances when there's so much uncertainty and conflicting information. Particularly if you're considering changing jobs or making other big life moves such as buying a house. But there's no harm in being prepared for economic difficulties, even if they end up not happening.
Here are some steps you can take:
- Stock up your emergency fund: Whether it's a job loss or a medical issue, you never know when life will throw you a curveball. Having three to six months' worth of living expenses in a savings account gives you a cushion against the unexpected. Indeed, some financial experts suggest the uncertain economic conditions mean you should put even more into your emergency fund.
- Pay down debt: If a chunk of your paycheck is tied up in debt payments, it can make it even harder to cope if you suddenly lose some or all of your income. On top of which, rising interest rates make it more expensive to carry debt, particularly the credit card variety. Learn more about ways to pay down debt.
- Dust off your resume: It's much easier to make a plan and update your resume when you have a job and things are going well. Think about the measurable ways you add value in your current job, and what specific data you can include that supports your achievements.
- Connect with your professional network: In addition to updating your resume, reach out to old colleagues and look for other ways to reconnect with your network. Those connections can often be invaluable when looking for a job.
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