After more than a year of steady growth, Apple cut hundreds of job postings over the last few weeks, a likely response to both supply chain pressure that are hampering its production, as well as the slowdown in the consumer marketplace that is keeping people from buying more phones. Still, some analysts maintain a sanguine outlook on the stock. 

Globally, Apple ($AAPL) has already cut about 4% of jobs, with 5% reductions in the US and 8% cuts to job postings in China from recent peaks. It's noteworthy that the majority of job postings remain in the US, and at about 10-times the rate of postings in China. This also marks the most substantive cut to job postings at Apple in more than a year. 

Some roles - like retail store positions - still have several hundred openings available, despite the fact there is little likelihood of anyone being hired for them soon. Others, like Machine Learning and AI, are still around all-time highs, driving home the point that technonlogists remain in demand - particularly with an extremely well-capitalized phone maker like Apple. 

Apple is continuing hiring, according to the Layoff Hiring List that’s being crowdsourced by Candor, but there are claims of a freeze. The site notes anonymous reports submitted stating that some verbal offers have been pulled to would-be staffers. 

In a Morgan Stanley note earlier this month, analyst Katy Huberty predicted its stock will “continue to outperform peers” despite the “risk that earnings could surprise negatively if social distancing measures last longer” - although, with Q1 in the books, that’s a forward-looking consideration only. Huberty’s note also said “Apple is best positioned to recover its long-term revenue and earnings… even in a prolonged downturn.” 

Then, Huberty notes - there's the buybacks, and in an environment in which Apple is one of the few companies globally still positioned with the pocketbook to buy back shares, that's an additional factor that should help prop up its stock. 

We'll have an eye on Apple job postings globally; if and when they return to their old trajectory, it will be one more data point to support the long-term bulls. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the 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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