Amazon Layoffs Leap to 18,000 as Economy Slows

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Amazon will eliminate another 8,000 jobs, mostly across its Amazon Stores – or main website, warehouse and retail operations – and human resources divisions, CEO Andy Jassy told employees in an email Wednesday.

The announcement was expected, after the e-commerce behemoth started layoffs in November and warned that more were on the way. The November cuts, believed to hit around 10,000 staffers, came from its devices division, which makes Alexa and its less popular home robot Astro.

In total, the company expects to have 18,000 fewer employees when the layoffs are complete.

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The move does not include hourly warehouse workers, an area where Amazon typically relies on high attrition to reduce those positions. It does not appear to target Amazon Studios either.

Jassy said in the email the company’s annual review “has been more difficult” given the uncertain economy combined with the surge of hiring in the past few years amid the explosion of online shopping during the pandemic.

The cuts in the human resources division, which Amazon calls its “People, Experience, and Technology” unit, come on top of voluntary buyouts that were offered amid the November layoffs.

Jassy said the company planned to tell the staffers more personally before making the cuts public.

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“We typically wait to communicate about these outcomes until we can speak with the people who are directly impacted,” the email said. “However, because one of our teammates leaked this information externally, we decided it was better to share this news earlier so you can hear the details directly from me.

The initial plan was to start informing those who would be losing their job on Jan. 18.

“These changes will help us pursue our long-term opportunities with a stronger cost structure; however, I’m also optimistic that we’ll be inventive, resourceful, and scrappy in this time when we’re not hiring expansively and eliminating some roles,” Jassy wrote. “Companies that last a long time go through different phases. They’re not in heavy people expansion mode every year.”

Layoffs at Amazon accompany a wave of job cuts at other big tech companies, including Facebook parent Meta, which announced an 11,000-person layoff in early November. Giant business software maker Salesforce also announced it is cutting about 8,000 workers, or 10% of its staff, on Wednesday, as did video platform Vimeo, which will shave 11% of its staff. Twitter, Stripe and Doordash are among the over 1,000 tech companies that laid off nearly 154,000 workers in 2022, according to Layoffs.fyi, which tracks the job situation in the tech industry.

Amazon shares were flat in early trading, adding just 4 cents to $85.18. They remain around where they were in early 2020, before they surged amid COVID.

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