In the clearest sign yet the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the Internet search giant, Alphabet (GOOG 1.71%) (GOOGL 1.52%) is reigning in the pace of hiring in 2020. 

In an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company would "significantly" slow down the pace of hiring this year and engage in cost-cutting by "recalibrating" the focus and pace of investments in certain areas including data centers and machines, nonbusiness essential marketing, and in travel. slow-hiring-in-2020-full-ceo-memo

Google apps on a smartphone screen.


The moves come as Google and other social media companies have seen a huge decline in advertising sales as the economy gets battered amid the pandemic. "The entire global economy is hurting, and Google and Alphabet are not immune to the effects of this global pandemic," Pichai wrote in the memo. "We exist in an ecosystem of partnerships and interconnected businesses, many of whom are feeling significant pain." Alphabet had been gearing up to hire 20,000 people in 2020, after bringing on another 20,000 new employees in 2019. 

The tech giant hasn't said much about the impact an ad sale slowdown is having on its bottom line, but rivals Facebook (META 1.26%) and Twitter (TWTR) have already issued warnings for the current quarter.  A Google spokesperson told Bloomberg it will continue to hire "in a small number of strategic areas" and it will onboard staff it had previously hired but haven't started at the company yet. Alphabet ended 2019 with a staff of 118,899 full-time employees. 

At the same time Alphabet is pulling back on hiring, Facebook is boosting its staff. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's COO, recently said in an interview the social media company will increase its workforce by 10,000 this year, with most of the hiring adding to its product and engineering teams.