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Coca-Cola continues to beat estimates as it slows hiring, moves jobs overseas

1 month ago by Jared Russo in Earnings

Before The Coca-Cola Company ($NYSE:KO) has its third-quarter earnings call tomorrow, we wanted to see what was going on with the alternative data for America's most-recognizable brand (outside of maybe McDonald's and Disney). Analysts are already expecting the company to beat results, and early revenue numbers are positive. Coke has beat estimates for countless quarters at this point. So we had to ask: how? Is it the new products that Coke reveals? Is it cost controls? The answer lies somewhere in between.

There has never been a better time to be a Coca-Cola investor, or an employee, according to our data. The stock is at an all-time high (for the past few decades, at least) and the company has never employed more people in recent memory. Things are up, seeing a 5% increase in staff count from this time last year, and a 60% increase over the last four years.

But here is where we start to point out the potential downfalls for the company. It's all based on its own expectations, how well Pepsi ($NASDAQ:PEP) is doing in comparison, soda taxes, the recent health trend to kick out sugary soft drinks, and the following data.

Hiring is down, but that might also explain why it keeps beating estimates. While Coke puts its new products like Coke Energy forward as a reason investors are excited about the brand’s prospects, data shows that the company has been busy getting lean when it comes to human capital. Revenue is expected to be up because it's spending less. Reduce the human capital overhead and boom, there's your answer.

In fact, when looking at new openings quarter-over-quarter, openings are down precipitously.

Despite its history as an American brand, Coca-Cola is moving jobs overseas. In recent months, there has been an uptick in hirings in China, Bulgaria, France, Japan, Mexico, and more.

If you have a problem with anything Coke is doing, well, you're gonna have to do one thing...

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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Jared Russo

Jared is an editor for Thinknum, and has been writing for more than a decade. He previously worked at AOL, Vice, Google, Dotdash, and Sirius XM.

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