Amazon begins cutting thousands of employees

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After decades of near-constant expansion, Amazon began laying off employees on Tuesday, becoming the latest tech giant to cut its workforce in recent weeks.

Amazon is expected to cut about 10,000 employees, about 3 percent of its total workforce. The company began communicating the layoffs to employees Tuesday afternoon, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe sensitive matters.

Amazon plans to lay off thousands of employees

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The cuts will mainly affect sectors such as retail, human resources and appliances. Earlier this month, Amazon announced a broad hiring freeze among its white-collar workers that would last at least “for the next few months.”

The cuts are expected to be the e-commerce giant’s largest round of layoffs in its history, marking a major turnaround for the company that has been aggressively hiring for the past decade.

Amazon is expected to continue hiring at its warehouses, adding staff to support the busy holiday season.

In recent weeks, Twitter, Salesforce, Facebook parent company Meta and other tech companies have announced significant layoffs or hiring cuts following months of warning signs such as tech startups finding it harder to raise capital.

Dan Ives, a financial analyst at Wedbush Securities, told The Washington Post Monday that the layoffs could be a sign of an impending recession. Technology companies, he said, “were blown up significantly and they’re not built for a softer economy like we’re seeing now.”

Meta cut 11,000 jobs last week, or 13 percent of its workforce. Ride-hailing service Lyft also laid off 13 percent of its staff. Fintech company Stripe and real estate marketplace Zillow have also announced layoffs since October.

Earlier this month, Twitter CEO Elon Musk laid off half of his company’s workforce shortly after acquiring the social network.

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Mass layoffs represent a sharp turnaround for Amazon, which has been expanding for much of its history. At the end of September, it employed more than 1.5 million workers, a 5 percent increase from the previous year. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Post.)

Amazon saw enormous growth during the corona crisis as people spent more time at home and increasingly did their shopping online. In May, the company acknowledged that it had staffed its warehouses too quickly to keep up with demand, which was cooling by then.

In addition, in the face of high inflation and increasingly price-conscious consumers, Amazon issued a disappointing forecast for the holiday season – typically the strongest time of the year – causing stocks to plummet last month. Amazon’s stock is down nearly 39 percent since the start of the year, though it still has a market cap of more than $1 trillion.

Mandy Dean, 39, was a contract recruiter in Chicago for Amazon Luna, the company’s cloud gaming platform. The company let her contract expire in September, though she said she was on track for an interview to take up full-time work.

It wasn’t a total surprise, as Dean said she saw the signs in August, when the software engineer openings she had to fill dwindled.

“It was bad timing for all this to happen,” Dean said. “I really enjoyed working for Amazon. I loved the culture, the people I worked with, the work itself. It was a difficult situation, but there was nothing I could do.”

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