Mar 20, 2023
Amazon to cut 9,000 more jobs, deepening biggest pullback ever
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Amazon.com Inc. is laying off an additional 9,000 employees, adding to cuts that were already the largest round of firings in the company’s history.
Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy announced the cuts internally Monday, saying they would occur in the coming weeks and primarily affect Amazon Web Services, human resources, advertising and the Twitch livestreaming service groups.
“Given the uncertain economy in which we reside, and the uncertainty that exists in the near future, we have chosen to be more streamlined in our costs and headcount,” he said in his memo, published later to Amazon’s corporate blog. Twitch’s incoming CEO said in his own blog post that cuts at the San Francisco-based subsidiary would total about 400 people. A spokesperson declined to detail how Amazon was apportioning the rest of the layoffs.
The e-commerce giant has been laying off mostly corporate workers after a hiring spree during the pandemic left Amazon with too many people. The company recently wrapped up a round of job cuts that totaled about 18,000 workers. Those layoffs began in November and landed heaviest on Amazon’s recruiting and human resources teams, its sprawling retail group and devices teams.
Amazon shares fell 1.3 per cent to US$97.71 in New York. The stock is up about 16 per cent this year.
The announced cuts come less than a week after Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc. said it was laying off another 10,000 employees and closing about 5,000 additional open roles in its own second major round of job cuts. Meta Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg told employees during a recent internal meeting that the economic climate of layoffs and restructuring could last “many years.”
Other tech giants have reduced their headcount, including Google parent company Alphabet Inc., Microsoft Corp., Dell Technologies Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. As of early February, more than 67,000 jobs had been eliminated across the industry since the beginning of the year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
It’s a continuation of a worrying trend from 2022, when the tech sector announced 97,171 job cuts, up 649 per cent compared with the previous year, according to consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.
Amazon employed 1.54 million people worldwide at the end of December. The vast majority of those workers are hourly employees who pack and ship products in warehouses. Before the first round of layoffs began in November, the company said it had roughly 350,000 corporate employees.
The company has periodically worked to rekindle growth in its retail division, but the current slowdown is also hitting AWS, the source of most of Amazon’s profit in recent years. Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said he expected slower growth rates for Amazon’s cloud unit “the next few quarters.” Expansion in Amazon’s lucrative advertising business has also slowed.
Jassy said the latest cuts came after teams completed another phase of the company’s annual planning process. He said that for the last several years most of Amazon’s businesses added significantly to their ranks.
“The overriding tenet of our annual planning this year was to be leaner while doing so in a way that enables us to still invest robustly in the key long-term customer experiences that we believe can meaningfully improve customers’ lives and Amazon as a whole,” he said.
Amazon’s goal is for teams that are on the hook for cuts to determine which positions to eliminate by mid to late April, Jassy said.