The "Happiest" and "Most Magical" places on earth are about to feel a lot more empty. Disney ($DIS) announced yesterday it would lay off approximately 28,000 employees in its park division, citing limited crowd sizes as well as California and Florida's restrictions on reopening as the primary causes. Approximately 67% of the layoffs are of part-time employees, according to a statement from Parks Chairman Josh D'amaro.
Both of its California parks have remained closed since March 14, and its flagship Disney World in Orlando has reopened with both limited capacity and dystopic advertisements. In its most recent quarterly report, Disney cited losses of $3.5 billion in operating revenue due to the closures of its parks, Experiences and Products segment, calling it "the most significant impact in the current quarter." Unlike Waystar Royco, parks are a massive part of Disney's business. According to CNBC, parks make up approximately 37% of Disney's business and brought in $69.6 billion in revenue last year.
So what is Disney doing to weather the storm? How is it hiring around the difficulties of COVID-19, and what might itsparks look like on the other end of the pandemic? We've taken a look at Disney's hiring data across its many branches and found that the company is pivoting to e-commerce and distancing itself from the state of Florida.
Carrying other branches
There's no tiptoeing around it. Disney is hurting. Job listings are down a dramatic 56% from its yearly, pre-COVID high and dipped as low as 310 in the spring before its parks reopened. Our data shows that the most valuable branches of Disney's business has either decreased its total job listings or held stagnant over the last three months, with the exception of two.
Disney's "Direct to Consumer" and "Disney Store" branches have seen increases of 140 and 128 listings respectively. This trend is in line with the overal growth of e-commerce during COVID-19, and Disney is likely looking to ride the wave to make up for some of the shortcomings of its other branches like film, television and, yes, parks. Disney is also preparing to open some of its brick-and-mortar stores across the country; its website has a banner at the top with its plans to reopen and guidelines for shopping in-store.
Disney's flagship themepark, Walt Disney World in Orlando, is the only one to have reopened in the states. The governor of California has refused to allow theme parks to reopen, which D'amaro has cited as a cause of strain for the company. Florida, on the other hand, has allowed theme parks to reopen in limited capacity.
Even though Disney did not disclose how layoffs would be distributed across its parks, its incredibly low number of open positions in Florida shows that Disney does not plan to return to full operating status anytime soon.
California's much higher number of open positions might seem to indicate that Disney's west coast parks are going somewhat unscathed by the layoffs, but Disney and many of its other branches are headquartered in California, muddying the numbers. The more likely scenario is that layoffs hit California parks disproportionately, as there is no clear indication of when they may finally be able to reopen.
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.