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Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, wrote in an email on June 2 that he would have to slash ten percent of his workforce due to a "super bad feeling" about the US economy. He has now retracted his statement and stated that the company's total workforce will rise in the coming year. At the same time, he has stated that the number of salaried employees is unlikely to expand significantly.

Tesla will cut salaried personnel by 10 percent, Elon Musk stated in another email to employees on June 3, citing that the company was "overstaffing in many areas". The world's richest man said so in an internal email titled "pause all hiring worldwide". The copy of the email has been seen by news agency Reuters. He did say, though, that "hourly headcount will increase".

Tesla's stock dropped 9.2 percent on June 3 as a result of the announcement. Tesla and its subsidiaries had about 100,000 employees at the end of 2021, according to a Tesla US regulatory filing.

Elon Musk told Tesla employees earlier this week that they could either return to work or leave the company. "Everyone at Tesla is required to spend a minimum of 40 hours in the office per week," Musk wrote in another email sent to employees on May 31. "If you don't show up, we will assume you have resigned."

Elon Musk's stern warning of a possible recession and its ramifications for manufacturers is the industry's most direct and high-profile prognosis of its sort.

According to a new survey from insurance Nationwide, half of business owners intend to operate entirely in person in a year's time. The developments illustrate disputes raging in boardrooms around the world about how this new era of hybrid work will play out, and raise concerns that some companies may exploit the current economic uncertainty as a pretext to fire employees who refuse to return to work.

While fears of a recession have intensified, demand for Tesla cars and other electric vehicles has remained high, and many of the classic markers of a downturn, such as rising dealer inventories in the US, have yet to materialise. After COVID-19 lockdowns prompted costly interruptions at Tesla's Shanghai factory, the company has struggled to restart production.

(With agency inputs)

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