Hiring at Google is slowing down

More discipline ahead?
More discipline ahead?
Image: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma
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Google investors are wondering what sort of discipline the company’s new chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, will bring.

Here’s one early idea: Google hired 1,700 net new employees last quarter, the company revealed today as part of its second-quarter earnings announcement. That’s the lowest number since the fourth quarter of 2013 and marks the third straight quarter of slower employee growth.

Overall, Google finished June with 57,000 employees.

“We are focused every day on developing big new opportunities across a wide range of businesses,” said Porat, who joined from Morgan Stanley in May, in the company’s earnings release. “We will do so with great care regarding resource allocation.”

Bigger picture: Google’s sales and profits are still growing, but at a slower pace. Last quarter, Google generated $17.7 billion in sales, representing 11% year-over-year growth. But a year ago, it grew 22%. Meanwhile, the company continues to invest in futuristic “moonshot” ideas, such as self-driving cars and smart textiles, which could someday generate massive growth—or nothing.

Investors have been pretty happy with Google—before today’s release shares were up about 20% since mid-January, and increased 11% in after-hours trading. But they want to make sure someone is keeping an eye on things. And they always appreciate more transparency. As a result, Porat will receive plenty of attention on her first earnings call this evening.