Allergan ($AGN) has agreed to a $63 billion tie-up with Abbvie ($ABBV), forming a pharmaceutical colossus that will compete with industry giants like the merged Bristol-Myers Squibb/Celgene ($BMC) titan. 

And, Abbvie-Allergan tipped its hand with reduced job postings just like Bristol-Myers Squibb did before its $74 billion deal earlier this year.

Our first chart tracks job postings at Allergan — in recent weeks, they plummeted more than 20%. 

“The synergies and other cost reductions will be a result of optimizing the research and early stage portfolio, and reducing overlapping R&D resources,” the companies said in a joint statement Tuesday morning June 25. But, it looks like Allergan got out in front of this work, based on its job posting reduction. 

It doesn't seem like there have been any substantive cuts to Allergan jobs — yet. In fact, according to its LinkedIn ($MSFT) Employee Count, staff size has grown 3.5% so far this year.

There are two fairly safe rules to use when evaluating data as it pertains to corporate health. Barring a major divestiture or a planned spin-off, sustained long-term job posting cuts or job cuts are a negative indicator of a company's health and, when there is a large company making a large number of cuts, virtually overnight, it's often signs of a big transaction in the near-term. 

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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