C.H. Robinson Eliminates 650 Jobs

C.H. Robinson Eliminates 650 Jobs

The Eden Prairie-based trucking company says freight markets “will continue to cool from their pandemic peaks.”

Eden Prairie-based trucking firm C.H. Robinson this week informed about 650 employees that they’re losing their jobs.

The layoffs amount to less than 4% of the company’s entire workforce, but the move may signal a cooling job market. For months, employers across many industries repeatedly reported a “tight labor market” and inability to find qualified workers.

As of Sept. 30, C.H. Robinson employed just under 18,000 people.

In the company’s third quarter earnings call in early November, president and CEO Bob Biesterfeld warned of impending “weakness in the retail market and further slowing in the housing market.”

“We’re now seeing those expectations play out and with slowing freight demand and price declines in both freight forwarding and surface transportation markets,” Biesterfield told investors. “Today, we believe that we’re entering a time of slower economic growth, where freight markets will continue to cool from their pandemic peaks and will operate more reliably at more normalized rates with fewer disruptions.”

When reached for comment on Friday, C.H. Robinson chief communications officer Duncan Burns emphasized that the layoffs were “not easy decisions.” But the firm has made an effort to roll out new technology and automate several processes – moves that enabled the company “to reduce our overall cost structure.” Earlier this year, C.H. Robinson began testing self-driving trucks with Waymo Via, a subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet Inc.

The layoffs are taking place across the company; C.H. Robinson declined to share precisely which types of employees are losing their jobs.

Trade industry publication Freight Waves first reported the layoffs on Wednesday.