Apple Inc. laid off many of its contract-based recruiters in the past week, part of a push to rein in the tech giant’s hiring and spending, according to people with knowledge of the matter.About 100 contract workers were let go in a rare move for the world’s most valuable company, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the situation is private. The recruiters were responsible for hiring new employees for Apple, and the cuts underscore that a slowdown is underway at the company.Workers laid off were told the cuts were made due to changes in Apple’s current business needs. Bloomberg first reported last month that the company was decelerating hiring after years of staffing up, joining many tech companies in hitting the brakes. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook confirmed during Apple’s earnings conference call that the company would be more “deliberate” in its spending -- even as it keeps investing in some areas. “We believe in investing through the downturn,” Cook told analysts. “And so we’ll continue to hire people and invest in areas, but we are being more deliberate in doing so in recognition of the realities of the environment.” Apple is still retaining recruiters who are full-time employees, and not all of its contractors were fired as part of the move. An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the decision.The move to lay off workers is unusual for the Cupertino, California-based technology giant, which employs more than 150,000 people. But it’s far from alone in taking such a step. In recent months, Meta Platforms Inc., Tesla Inc., Microsoft Corp., Amazon.com Inc. and Oracle Corp. have all eliminated jobs in the face of a tech spending slowdown.Terminated contractors were told they would receive pay and medical benefits for two weeks. When they were laid off, employee badges were disabled and workers were told they would need to email a list of their belongings if they wanted those items to be returned. Recruiters were let go across many regions, including at Apple’s offices in Texas and Singapore. Apple previously fired a large group of contract workers in 2019 in Cork, Ireland. At the time, the company had been relying on several hundred contractors to listen to recordings of Siri conversations to help improve the product. Apple let the workers go as part of scaling down the program in response to privacy concerns. The company also fired some contractors while working on the Apple Park campus in 2015. Like many other companies, Apple employs contract workers for tasks such as technical support and customer service. It also uses contractors for localizing products and improving its Maps service. Contract workers typically receive fewer benefits than full-time workers and have fewer protections.