ILR School Research Suggests Mass Layoffs Have Been Normal for a Long Time

newspaper article about layoffs due to the pandemic

Vox's "When did Mass Layoffs Become so Normal?" includes insights about this topic by ILR School's Professor and Director, Institute for Workplace Studies Global Labor and Work (GLW) Louis Hyman. He says mass layoffs have been normal for a very long time — the idea that you would have job security is sort of a 20th-century invention. Normally, layoffs are tied to two things: a sudden reversal in a particular business, like some rival has a new kind of product that puts them out of business or there’s some sort of business challenge, or the business cycle.

What’s sort of weird about this moment right now is that it’s really been determined by this Covid shock to the system, says Hyman. Are we in a recession? Are we in a moment of prosperity? What is this? Where does Covid meet the business cycle? And I think nobody really knows what’s going on.