Tesla Steps Up Job Ads as Recession Clouds Gather

Tesla Steps Up Job Ads as Recession Clouds Gather
The logo of Tesla in Taipei, Taiwan, on Aug. 11, 2017. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

While Elon Musk may be worried about the economy, job openings on Tesla's website suggest the world's most valuable car maker is hiring employees at a quick pace, in nearly every category of job.

Tesla this week listed over 6,900 jobs on its career website, almost a 50 percent surge since mid-June, when Reuters began tracking the data. That compares to a 2022 peak of over 7,400 job ads in May, according to data similarly tracked by Thinknum Alternative Data and hedge fund Snow Bull Capital.

Chief Executive Musk warned colleagues in early June he had a "super bad" feeling about the economy and said the electric car maker needed to cut jobs. He later wrote on Twitter that total headcount would increase over the next 12 months.

Jobs listed on Tesla's website showed a steep drop in June and July.

Since July, job openings for Engineering & Information Technology, Vehicle Service, and Manufacturing led that revival, accounting for the vast majority of listings across 17 categories. Vehicle Service has jumped by over 40 percent since late June to over 1,600 this week.

A Leading Indicator

Tesla job ads are important because they show where Tesla is trying to grow, said Taylor Ogan, head of Snow Bull Capital. "That's the leading indicator that we have, more than really anything else."

While the job ads provide a valuable glimpse of potential trends at Wall Street's most closely scrutinized automaker, it is difficult to draw specific conclusions. Changes in the number of job ads could reflect attrition, delays in filling roles, as well as changes in the size of Tesla's workforce. Tesla could also advertise jobs in other ways. Tesla could also advertise jobs in other places. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment about the job ads.

About three-quarters of job ads on Tesla's website are for U.S. positions, followed by Germany, site of a new factory, and Canada. Tesla lists over 200 jobs on another website focused on China, where it recently upgraded its Shanghai plant to boost production.

Tesla's U.S. job ads are concentrated in California, Texas, and Nevada, where it has plants and offices.

During June-October, manufacturing job ads have risen a relatively modest 20 percent to almost 1,300, even as Tesla ramps up its monthly car output and raises prices.

"Costs for manufacturing not going up, and pricing going up. Reading the tea leaves, that could be good for margins," said Roth Capital analyst Craig Irwin.

Investors will get a fresh glimpse of Tesla's profitability when it reports its September-quarter results on Wednesday.

In-Demand Workers

Job ads related to solar, energy, charging and sales grew at faster rates than manufacturing, with ads in the Energy—Solar & Storage and Charging categories tripling since late June.

Ads related to Autopilot and Robotics—technologies that Tesla considers key—have almost doubled to about 80 this week after troughing in July.

While other automakers have cut their work forces in recent years, Tesla is opening new factories and has hired tens of thousands of employees worldwide.

The steady growth in Tesla's job ads in recent months comes as almost 90 percent of global CEOs surveyed by KPMG expect a recession over the next 12 months, with nearly half weighing job cuts.