Amazon starts cutting thousands of workers

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

Amazon expects to cut about 10,000 workers, about 3 percent of its corporate 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 cut thousands of corporate workers

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.

Within hours of the layoffs beginning, employees began posting on LinkedIn and the anonymous workplace app Blind to say they were laid off and looking for new jobs.

Inside Amazon, employees say they were told little about the layoffs — they received no company-wide communication or notice, said two corporate workers who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.

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

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

Amazon expects to continue hiring at its warehouses, where it is adding staff to support its busy holiday season.

In recent weeks, Twitter, Salesforce, Facebook parent Meta, and other tech companies have announced significant layoffs or hiring freezes, after months of warning signs that tech is starting to find it harder to raise capital.

Dan Ives, a financial analyst with Wedbush Securities, told The Washington Post on Monday that the layoffs may signal an imminent recession. The technology companies, he said, “became very inflated, and they are not built for a softer economy like we see.”

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

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

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The mass layoffs represent a sharp reversal for Amazon, which has expanded 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 huge growth during the coronavirus crisis as people spent more time at home and increasingly did their shopping online. In May, the company acknowledged that it was staffing its warehouse too quickly to keep pace with demand, which then cooled.

Moreover, in the face of high inflation and increasingly budget-conscious consumers, Amazon gave a disappointing forecast for the holiday season – typically its strongest time of the year – sending its stock plummeting last month. Amazon shares have fallen nearly 39 percent since the beginning of the year, even though it still has a market capitalization above $1 trillion.

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Mandy Dean, 39, was a contract recruiter in Chicago for Amazon Luna, the company’s cloud gaming platform. The company let his contract expire in September, although he said he was on track to interview to go full-time.

It was not a total surprise as Dean said that he saw the signs in August, as the openings of the software engineers he was responsible for filling decreased.

“It was the wrong time for it all to happen,” Dean said. “I really liked working for Amazon. I liked the culture, the people I worked with, the job itself. It was a difficult situation but there was nothing I could do.”

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