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Tesla lays off 200 autopilot workers as California site shuts down

As the layoff wave continues to hit US jobs, Tesla laid off 200 workers on its Autopilot team as the automotive company shuttered its site in California.

Most of the affected positions were hourly-paid workers, even though Tesla previously disclosed that it’s planning to reduce salaried positions and boost hourly ones, as Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk outlined last week.

According to Bloomberg, Tesla’s shares fell 3.8% at 9:41 a.m. Wednesday in New York. The stock tumbled 34% this year through Tuesday’s close, compared with a 20% decline in the SP 500 Index.

Teams at the San Mateo office were tasked with evaluating customer vehicle data related to the Autopilot driver-assistance features and performing so-called data labeling. A Bloomberg source noted that many of the staff were data annotation specialists, all of whom are hourly.

Before the cuts, the office had about 350 employees, some of whom were already transferred to a nearby facility recently. However, as Bloomberg reported, Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The company, now based in Austin, Texas, had grown to about 100,000 employees globally as it built new factories in Austin and Berlin.

Although Tesla’s overall headcount is going higher in a year, Musk surprisingly said that layoffs would be necessary for an increasingly unstable economic environment and that about 10% of salaried employees would lose their jobs over the next three months, he clarified in a subsequent interview with Bloomberg.

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