As Tesla ($TSLA) job openings hit their lowest levels yet since Thinknum started tracking this data on August 2, 2016, the company reportedly laid off a third of its recruitment staff.

While some major change was expected at the company with anything from store closures (hasn't happened... yet) to an increase in car prices (what they did to prevent store closures), it would be foolish to say that anyone predicted this specific cut to employee headcount. But, looking deeper into what the company was — and wasn't — hiring for reveals that HR and Operations job openings, two key parts of recruitment plummeted over the past five months.

Tesla's official website breaks down careers by specific sectors of its business. One department listed, HR, hires admins, payroll specialist, and, by exact title, Recruiters.

Since the database sectioned out job openings by category on December 24, listings for HR positions fell 61.76%

To get a more long term picture, here were the number of job listings for job titles that specifically contained the keywords "Recruiter," "Recruitment," "HR," and "Human Resources," which gives general coverage of what the company defines as recruitment.

On top of this, "Operations" position listings — for example, logistics and people who help Tesla owners register vehicles at their state's DMV— are also at its lowest levels since we started tracking the company's official careers website.

While Tesla did not officially announce these recruitment staff layoffs, the scoop and alternative data seems to line up here. In any case, Tesla isn't listing as many jobs as it did, and it's not a good sign for a company as it hopes to shake off a bad 2018 PR cycle.

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