It’s no secret that Tesla has been leading the charge into bear market territory. The electric vehicle maker’s stock lost more than a third of its value in May, plunging more deeply than the S&P 500 over the past several weeks.
Responding to the rout, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said he has a “super bad feeling” about the economy and will trim the company’s salaried workforce by about 10%, according to Reuters. He later qualified those comments by adding that the cuts would largely be effectuated through a hiring freeze limited to salaried positions, while overall headcount would still grow.
But overall hiring has taken a nosedive at Tesla, according to data gathered by our parent company Thinknum. After steadily rising since the beginning of the year, Tesla job listings fell by more than 27% from 7,290 on May 20 to 5,290 on June 12. The curve more or less followed the outline of a continued downward slide in the Austin, Texas-based company’s stock price.
While it’s tempting to assume what’s going on at Tesla reflects the EV market as a whole, that’s not really the case. Tesla is not only the biggest EV manufacturer in the U.S., in terms of market share and number of vehicles sold, it is also by far the most queried on Google, according to Google Trends.
All of that attention, partly due to its outspoken CEO Musk and his controversial effort to acquire Twitter, seems to be setting Tesla apart from the other players in the EV space, and not necessarily in a positive way.
The electric vehicle market is still in growth mode, and competitors do not seem to be feeling as much of a negative impact from a slowing economy — at least based on hiring. (Legacy automakers are also orienting themselves increasingly toward EVs.)
As of May 27, Tesla job listings had dropped off more precipitously than that of Foster City, California-based Zoox, a startup EV competitor. Job listings at Lucid Motors and Nikola, meanwhile, had growth. Through the first half of June, Tesla’s job listings have continued to drop.
The drop in Tesla hiring has been less substantial than that of Rivian, however. After a recent hiring spree, Irvine, California-based Rivian said it was focusing more on retention than adding to headcount. The company is also reportedly working on a reorganization.
There’s no question that the stock market has been punishing most companies as of late, including EV companies. Commercial EV maker Electric Last Mile Solutions also disclosed it was filing for bankruptcy on Monday, after founders resigned in February amid a regulatory probe into improper stock purchases.
But the trend at Tesla, at least when it comes to adding jobs, isn’t universal. As you can see here, Newark, California-based Lucid Motors’ stock price has also dropped off steeply, but it has continued to up its hiring, based on job listings data collected by Thinknum.