In a turn of events that probably surprises absolutely no one, Americans across the country are nervous about layoffs–despite the fact that unemployment is the lowest it’s been in decades.
According to a 2023 report by SmartAsset, an overwhelming majority of people harbor some anxiety about layoffs in their area, with the most concentrated of these concerns residing in the San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley area of California.
Other areas to note include Texas as a whole, with four of the top 10 areas for layoff anxiety including Austin-Round Rock, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston-The Woodlands, and San Antonio-New Braunfels.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, California made up another four of the 10 areas surveyed, meaning that 80% of the highest layoff anxiety regions are split between Texas and the Golden State. Other notable areas included Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington, and Lafayette, Louisiana.
The report itself involved “94 metro areas” and was composed based on Google Trends data for search interest regarding six total search terms: “layoffs,” “severance pay,” “recession,” “downsizing,” “unemployment benefits”, and “furlough.”
SmartAsset concluded that searches regarding the term “recession” were most common, comprising an average interest score of 69.14; trailing behind was “severance pay” with a score of 49.26. “Layoffs” actually only accounted for an average score of 16.70 across the areas that were surveyed. This implies dramatically more concern for something that impacts the entire economy as opposed to industry-specific strife.
But layoff anxiety is, in its own way, misguided, though SmartAsset’s report observes that the basis of this concern is rooted in empirical events. “Layoffs at some of the most high-profile tech companies in recent months have contributed to the general sense of economic uncertainty and layoff anxiety,” the report states before observing that “the wave of layoffs belies the current strength of the labor market, even as recession fears loom.”
Should your layoff anxiety prove to be founded, however, SmartAsset recommends doing your best to establish an emergency fund to cover your expenses while you search for a job. Similarly, they offer a reminder that you will still need to pay taxes on any unemployment income from the prior year.