Author: Daniel B. Kline | April 30, 2018
The United States has hovered at or close to historic unemployment rates for all of 2018 as it did during the previous year. That does not mean the work force was stable.
2018 also brought a number of retail bankruptcies and retailers that closed stores. That caused a lot of job loss that was made up in other areas. In this gallery we're going to look at 17 companies that had plans to hire thousands of workers. We're also going to examine 11 companies that have made major cuts or gone out of business entirely leaving workers without jobs.
Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) just keeps getting bigger. The online leader has openings in its warehouses and distribution centers and it has been hiring work-from-home customer service jobs in certain states. The company also has begun the selection process for a location where it will house its second headquarters, a location that may eventually employ 50,000 workers.
"Amazon employs over 500,000 people worldwide, and we're continuing
to hire for thousands of open jobs across the company," Amazon said in a statement to CNBC in December in response to a question about whether hiring at its current Seattle headquarters had slowed. "We are constantly
evaluating hiring needs to ensure we're dedicating resources
efficiently and effectively, so it's common for there to be fluctuations
in headcount as we grow at different rates across businesses."
Home improvement has been a strong retail segment that has not been impacted by the move of some commerce to digital. Home Depot (NYSE: HD) has benefited from that and the chain expects to add 80,000 seasonal workers for its spring season. In addition, the company expects to hire 1,000 technology professionals.
"With the rapidly changing retail environment, this is easily one of
the most exciting places to work in technology," said Chief Information Officer Matt Carey in a press release. "Our team is building
some of the most advanced software anywhere to help customers shop
whenever, wherever, and however they want."
The coffee giant is in year two of a plan to add 240,000 jobs globally by 2021. A lot of those positions won't be in the United States since Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) is opening roughly a store a day in China. Still, with plans to create a new Reserve brand of stores and adding Reserve bars in the U.S., hiring will be brisk in the chain's home market as well.
Starbucks expects to need 68,000 new U.S. workers by 2021, according to a CNBC report. The chain has also boosted its target for hiring veteran and military spouses to 25,000 by 2025.
Target (NYSE: TGT) has not committed to a specific number of new hires, but it's expanding in a number of ways. The chain plans to open roughly 35 smaller-format stores in urban markets in 2018. It has also begun rolling out same-day shipping through its Shipt service in select cities. That service is expected to grow in 2018, which will require more workers.
Lowe's (NYSE: LOW) began filling 53,000 open jobs in February. The jobs are a mix of full and part-time jobs as well as permanent and seasonal positions.
“Our employees are the heart of our business and make a difference for the customers and communities we serve every day,” said Lowe’s Chief Human Resources Officer. Jennifer Weber in a press release. Historically, about 40% of seasonal hires end up working in permanent jobs for the company, according to Lowe's.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) plans to
hire 20,000 workers in the U.S. by 2021. In addition, the technology company plans to open a new campus on the same time schedule. Much of its hiring will come at U.S. data centers, with some of its capital expenditures funded by cash it repatriates under the new U.S. tax laws.
GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google has plans to add 20,000 jobs in a new development
in San Jose, California. The company also plans to hire thousands of people at data centers
in nine states.
"We plan to hire thousands of people across the U.S. this year," said Pichai. "Last year in the U.S. we grew faster outside the Bay Area than in the Bay Area. To support this growth, we will be making significant investments in offices across nine states, including Colorado and Michigan."
While the name Softbank is not very well-known in the U.S., the company has committed to spending billions of dollars here. CEO Masayoshi Son has openly courted President Donald Trump's support by pledging $50 billion in U.S. investment. Some of that will be in Sprint which the Japanese company owns a controlling stake in.
Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM) closed 2017 with nearly 21,500 restaurants. The chain has been steadily growing and Yum! forecasts total growth of 3%-4% for 2018. That would mean roughly 700 to 800 new KFCs would open leading to thousands of new hires across the globe.
Another fast-growing chain, Domino's (NYSE: DPZ) added 1,045 stores globally in 2017 and expects to do roughly the same this year. That will require the company to hire thousands of new cashiers, pizza makers, kitchen personnel, and delivery drivers.
A fast-growing retailer, Dollar General (NYSE: DG) opened over 1,300 new locations in 2017. It's going to slow down a bit in 2018 but still expects to add 900 new stores. That will require thousands of new employees both in the stores and in the company's distribution centers.
A discount grocery chain based in Germany, Aldi has been growing its footprint in the U.S. The company plans to add about 180 new stores in the country in 2018, CNBC reported. That number could grow depending on the actions of rival discount grocer Lidl, which has slowed its U.S. expansion efforts.
Discounters have been consistent winners and TJX Companies (NYSE: TJX) has been consistently adding stores. The company operates Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, and Home Goods in the U.S, along with other brands. It has a clear plan for significant growth, which will involve hiring thousands, but its plans are broad.
"With more than 3,900 stores as of July 29, 2017, we see the potential to expand our store base by approximately 40%, to 5,600 stores long term, with just our current chains in just our current markets alone," the company said on a web page detailing its long-range growth plans.
Dunkin' Brands (NASDAQ: DNKN) has been expanding outside of its traditional northeast stronghold. The chain plans to grow its U.S. restaurant footprint by 3% annually, adding 1,000 new locations in its home country by 2020, according to a press release.
Another Yum! brand, Pizza Hut closed 2018 with over 16,700 restaurants globally. If it follows its parent company's plan of growing store count by 3%-4%, it will add at least roughly 500 new locations in 2018. The company has also been growing its delivery force which should lead to even more jobs at each new store.
The growth of digital has been very good for the package delivery business and FedEx (NYSE: FDX) has been no exception. The company has steadily added workers and it plans to continue to grow in 2018, filling as many as 20,000 openings.
FedEx also employs thousands of seasonal workers to help it through the holiday season. Many of those employees stay on or rejoin as demand allows.
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has been steadily expanding its artificial intelligence division. It grew from 5,000 to 8,000 employees in 2017 (its first year) and should continue to expand in 2018. The company has also been slowly expanding its retail store lineup and that should add some jobs as well.
It's not all good news
While a number of companies are adding workers, the retail space has been devastated by companies closing locations and going out of business. These chains are likely not the only ones that have either already announced plans to cut workers (sometimes everyone) in 2018, but they are the biggest ones that have made cuts (or closed) so far.
Toys R Us
The death of Toys R Us isn't just bad news for toy companies like Hasbro, it also has involved the loss of a lot of jobs. The retail chain, which is currently having going-out-of-business sales, could end up costing 130,000 people their jobs, according to a Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-toysrus-usa-20180422-story.htmlreport. That estimate includes workers "at suppliers, distribution centers, trucking companies, and other firms tied to the retailer."
Sears (NASDAQ: SHLD) could have appeared on this list for each of the past five years. The company has been steadily closing Sears and Kmart locations as it struggles to stop its losses.
Even if the company survives, which is not likely, it has plans to close even more Sears and Kmart locations. That will mean more job loss for a company that has been steadily shrinking for years.
IBM (NYSE: IBM) has been quietly laying people off with roughly 20,000 having been cut since 2013. Those layoffs have continued in 2018 although the company has also been adding workers in some divisions.
In addition, the technology company has been hit with an age discrimination lawsuit saying that the layoffs have targeted older workers. The company has denied those charges.
Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB), which makes
Huggies and Kleenex, decided to lay off 13% of its staff -- between 5,000 and 5,500 people -- in January,. The company blamed the move on declining birthrates
affecting diaper sales and a retail price war that's holding profits down.
Walmart's Sam's Club
While Walmart may be thriving, its Sam's Club warehouse chain is not doing as well. The company is shutting 63 Sam's Club locations which will result in employees at those stores losing their jobs if they cannot find compatible positions elsewhere in the company.
The closures represent about 10% of the total Sam's Club lineup of 660 stores. Twelve of the closed clubs will become e-commerce distribution centers and some displaced Sam's Club employees may be able to land work at those locations.
AT&T was one of the first companies to announce one-time bonuses after the Republican tax plan passed Congress. The company was not quiet about that effort, but it was not as vocal about the thousands of people it laid off early in the year. Many of those employees were eligible, however, to apply for open positions within the company and AT&T has not gone public with an exact total of how many people were ultimately let go.
While it's in much better shape than Sears, Macy's (NYSE: M) has been strategically closing stores and shrinking its workforce. The company announced plans for 5,000 workers to be laid off and seven more store closures earlier this year.
This one goes in the "sort of" category because the workers impacted are expected to get their jobs back. Ford (NYSE: F) decided in March to temporarily lay off roughly 2,000 hourly employees at its Michigan assembly and stamping plants while the factories are retooled to make different vehicles.
“Employees who are temporarily affected will receive approximately 75% of their take-home pay if they have one year seniority,” Ford’s manufacturing and labor communications manager Kelli Felker said in an email. “The affected employees all will return to work -- either at Michigan Assembly or at another Ford facility.”
The layoff is expected to begin in May and run through October.
It's a tired story by now, but J.C, Penney (NYSE: JCP) is yet another retailer that's closing stores and cutting jobs in order to survive. The company plans eight more store closures in 2018 and it has also made cuts to its corporate workforce.
Another company that handed out bonuses after the tax cut was announced, PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP) actually announced layoffs at the same time as the worker bonuses. The moves were planned as part of an overall effort to cut expenses and they impacted less than 1% of the company's 110,000 employees around the world.
Verizon (NYSE: VZ) has decided to close seven call centers in the U.S. That will cost roughly 3,000 workers their jobs. The cuts come as the company tries to handle more customer service through its website and on social media.
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Teresa Kersten is an employee of LinkedIn and is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft. Daniel B. Kline owns shares of Apple and Microsoft. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, Apple, Starbucks, and Verizon Communications. The Motley Fool is short shares of IBM and has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple, short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple, short May 2018 $175 calls on Home Depot, and long January 2020 $110 calls on Home Depot. The Motley Fool recommends Dunkin' Brands Group, FedEx, Ford, Home Depot, Lowe's, and The TJX Companies. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.