Uber is laying off 3,700 full-time employees, or about 14% of its workforce, due to the sustained impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the company announced in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday. Additionally, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will forego his base salary for the rest of 2020, the company said.
Uber's ride hailing business has proved particularly vulnerable to shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders, which have kept a majority of the US population inside their homes since early March. Uber said lower trip volumes in its Rides segment is what led to the layoffs, which will cost the company roughly $20 million in severance and termination benefits.
The spread of coronavirus has decimated gig economy positions involving transportation, and Uber drivers are among those struggling with the financial fallout. In mid-March, Uber suspended its Uber Pool services in order to limit the spread of the virus, and its gross bookings were down 80% as of last month, according to a report from The Information.
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It's a similarly grim story over at Airbnb. The company has suffered from booking cancellations and a steep decline in demand, and announced this morning the need to cut 1,900 employees, or roughly 25% of its staff, due to the virus. Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said that Airbnb's 2020 revenue would to be less than half of what the company earned a year ago, reported to be over $4.8 billion.
To Uber's credit, the company has worked to help find alternative sources of employment for its drivers. Last month the company revamped its mobile application and introduced the "Work Hub" section that lists driving jobs in alternative industries, including Uber Freight, food deliveries for Uber Eats, as well as Uber Work jobs in food production, warehouses, and customer services across Chicago, Dallas and Miami.