Just days after he declared that working from home was unacceptable, Elon Musk has decided some Tesla employees don't need to come back at all. In an email to execs seen by Reuters, the Tesla CEO says he is planning to cut around 10% of jobs at the company because he has a "super bad feeling" about the economy." Tesla has around 100,000 employees worldwide, the Guardian reports. It is also currently advertising around 5,000 jobs, though Musk's email was titled "pause all hiring."
Some viewed Musk's remarks on remote working as a shifty way of cutting staff numbers, since staff members responded by pointing out that the company doesn't have space for all employees to be in the office full-time, the Guardian notes. Shares in Tesla have plummeted since Musk announced a deal to buy Twitter, but there has been no drop in sales at the electric automaker. The Telegraph reports that Musk also raised concerns about the economy at a conference in late May, saying the US could already be in recession and "it’ll probably be some tough going for, I don't know, a year, maybe 12-18 months."
"Musk’s bad feeling is shared by many people," Carsten Brzeski, global head of macroeconomic research at Dutch bank ING, tells Reuters. "But we are not talking about global recession. We expect a cooling of the global economy towards the end of the year. The US will cool off, while China and Europe are not going to rebound." The Verge notes that large rounds of layoffs are not unusual at Tesla: The company cut 9% of staff in June 2018 and another 7% in January 2019. (In 2019, Musk said jobs were being cut because Tesla's vehicles were too expensive.)