Unemployment claims drop, but Bay Area tech firms prep layoffs

SAN JOSE — Unemployment claims in California fell to their lowest levels since coronavirus-linked business shutdowns began in March — but a few Silicon Valley tech companies and at least one big services firm that caters to the tech sector have prepped new layoffs.

In November alone, Hitachi Vantara, Boston Scientific, Marvell Semiconductor and PayPal have revealed plans for job cuts in Silicon Valley, according to official state filings.

Despite the improvement in unemployment claims in California, the tech industry layoffs and weekly jobless filings that remain far higher than what is typical are disquieting reminders that the economy in the state and the Bay Area remains feeble.

“The California economy is in a suspended state,” said Michael Bernick, a former director of the state Employment Development Department and an employment attorney with law firm Duane Morris. “There is little new hiring and no economic uptick over the past two

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Rover inks deal with Walmart as Seattle pet care startup bounces back after layoffs

Inside Rover’s HQ in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

As the pandemic hit earlier this year, Rover’s business evaporated. The shift to remote work and limited travel reduced demand for its services. The Seattle pet care startup laid off 41% of its workforce in March, or nearly 200 employees.

Rover CEO Aaron Easterly. (Rover Photo)

But seven months later, Rover has bounced back in a big way due in part to increased pet ownership amid the pandemic. Revenue is accelerating again and the company is growing its market share.

The latest sign of Rover’s resurgence is a new partnership announced Wednesday with Walmart. The retail giant just rolled out Walmart Pet Care and will promote Rover through Walmart.com. Customers who book Rover services through Walmart Pet Care will get a $20 Walmart gift card on the first booking, and another $20 if they complete five Rover bookings in six

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