Some retailers have ramped up hiring to meet heightened demand ahead of the holidays, while other companies are slashing headcounts to prepare for the new year. Christmas layoffs are nothing new. Companies tend to “downsize” in December for a few reasons. For one, most organizations run on a calendar year budget, so celebrating the holidays coincides with evaluating year-end numbers. There’s also the motivation to cut costs — including employee salaries — for the new year.  

The logic doesn’t make the action any less brutal on workers, especially this year, as unemployment rates rise with the spread of the pandemic. But that hasn’t stopped these companies from trimming headcounts and cutting job listings for the winter season.


No more movie theatre sodas or giant diner cokes or mixed drinks at the bar means Coca-Cola is less relevant in many people’s lives. Coca-Cola’s revenue for the third quarter that ended in September fell 9% from the prior-year period, following a 28% decline in the second quarter from the year-earlier period.

The company is shrinking its product portfolio, along with its head count as part of a COVID era restructuring plan. They’ve already killed over 500 “zombie brands” this year. According to our data, Coca-Cola’s job listings are down 49% month-over-month and 33% week-over-week. Currently, 80 listings remain.

Best Buy

A classic Black Friday destination, Best Buy saw some of the highest post-Thanksgiving foot traffic this year, even as the pandemic rages on. But our job listings data paints a less optimistic picture of the electronics giant’s business. 

Best Buy counts 687 job openings, but the company’s listings have declined by 23% week-over-week and 62% month-over-month. 


Last month, ESPN announced it will lay off 300 workers and leave another 200 positions unfilled, as the pandemic throws a wrench in televised sports and the business of its parent company, Disney. The cuts will mainly affect those who work in event production and studio programming, the Washington Post reports.

Back in April, ESPN asked employees making more than $500,000 to take pay cuts. In recent months, several high-profile broadcasters left the company, including announcer Adam Amin and commentators Emmanuel Acho and Will Cain. While on-camera talent aren’t part of the layoffs, many high-profile people will not renew their contracts because of ESPN’s cost-cutting measures.

Walt Disney

Walt Disney recently announced layoffs of 4,000 employees by the end of March 2021, in addition to the 28,000 employees who started receiving notices in October. Disney is also ending its free college education program for affected employees. Most of these layoffs will be implemented by the end of 2020. Disney blames jobs cuts on limited park attendance and closures.

Roughly 18,000 of the affected employees come from Disney’s Florida-based properties. Meanwhile, the media and entertainment behemoth reinstated executive salaries in August after temporary pay cuts at the start of the pandemic. For just five months, all vice presidents took 20% pay cuts, CEO Bob Chapek took a 50% salary cut, and Chairman Bob Iger gave up his salary.

Rite Aid

Back in May, Retail Dive reported that Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens started hiring for around 65,000 roles between the companies. But, according to our data, Rite Aid has decreased its job listings by 40% month-over-month with just two job listings remaining. 

  • Hiring decline: 40% MoM

AMC Networks

In AMC Networks’ third-quarter call, CEO and president Josh Sapan said that revenue from its subscription streaming services — Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now, UMC and IFC Films Unlimited — was among the company's fastest growing areas. As such, Sapan recently announced that AMC will lay off 10% of its US workforce, or about 100 staffers, restructuring operations to focus on streaming efforts. Affected employees will depart by the end of 2020. Apparently, the LA-based content team will not be hit by the job cuts.


NBCUniversal laid off 5% of employees in its television and streaming departments and has plans to cut 1 in 10 workers starting early next year, Variety reports. This comes after several rounds of exec exits including USA Network and Syfy President Chris McCumber and programming exec Bill McGoldrick, whose last role was head of programming for NBCU’s streaming service Peacock. 


Two weeks ago, WarnerMedia laid off between 5-7% of staff, or between 1,250 and 1,750 employees across departments. The cuts came after the Wall Street Journal reported that the company was aiming to cut costs by 20% and potentially lay off thousands. 


ViacomCBS recently cut 100 employees, mainly from its finance, legal, and technology departments. The company has been downsizing since February, firing workers across divisions including CBS Entertainment, CBS News, CBS Sports, CBS Studios, CBS Television Studios, Pop TV, MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Pop, and Smithsonian.  


Hulu might be raising its prices, but it’s slashing job openings. While there hasn’t been any news of layoffs, Hulu’s job listings have declined by 51% month-over-month and 14% week-over-week. Our data counts 13 open positions at the time of writing.

  • Hiring decline: 14% WoW / 51% MoM

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.

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