Amazon begins laying off thousands of workers

Amazon begins laying off thousands of workers
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In a dramatic reversal from its steady expansion over the past decade, Amazon began laying off corporate employees on Tuesday, becoming the latest in a string of tech giants to cut workforces amid an increasingly uncertain economic climate.

Amazon workers across the country were called into meetings with their managers on Tuesday, and many were told internally they had two months to find another job or accept severance pay.

The e-commerce giant is expected to cut about 10,000 jobs, or 3 percent of its corporate workforce. The company began notifying employees of the layoffs 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 corporate employees

Within hours of the layoffs, employees began posting on LinkedIn and on the anonymous workplace app Blind that they were fired and looking for new jobs.

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

Several employees from the Alexa team working on Amazon’s voice assistant technology have been laid off and layoffs have occurred in Boston, Seattle, Vancouver and the Bay Area, according to screenshots of the company’s internal Slack messages shared by an employee who spoke with the condition. anonymity to protect their work.

On the talk show, employees discussed being called into meetings with their managers and human resources to break the news.

“It’s terribly sad to see these ‘I’m fired’ posts,” an anonymous employee wrote on Slack. “This is horrible :(“

The layoffs are expected to mostly affect areas such as retail, human resources and appliances. Earlier this month, Amazon announced a broad hiring freeze among its white-collar workforce that will last at least “for the next few months.”

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

Amazon is expected to continue hiring at the warehouses it has added to support the busy holiday season.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Employees sent goodbye notes to colleagues on Slack along with layoff announcements.

“I can’t thank you enough for the lessons you’ve taught me and the friendships you’ve freely given,” wrote an anonymous employee. “I will miss working with you and I wish you all great things.”

In recent weeks, Twitter, Salesforce, Facebook parent Meta and other tech companies have announced significant layoffs or hiring freezes, following months of warning signs as tech startups. makes it difficult to raise capital.

Dan Ives, a financial analyst at Wedbush Securities, told The Washington Post on Monday that the layoffs could signal an imminent recession. Tech companies, he said, were “significantly bloated and not set up for a softer economy as we’ve seen.”

Meta cut 11,000 jobs last week, or 13 percent of its workforce. Ride-hailing service Lyft also lost 13 percent of its employees. Financial technology firm Stripe and real estate marketplace Zillow also announced layoffs starting in October.

This month, Twitter CEO Elon Musk laid off half of the company’s employees shortly after acquiring the social network.

Twitter laid off employees as Musk was appointed

The massive layoffs represent a sharp turnaround for Amazon, which has been expanding for much of its history. At the end of September, more than 1.5 million workers worked here, which means an increase of 5 percent compared to 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 shopped online. In May, the company admitted it was staffing its warehouses too quickly to keep up with demand, which by then had already cooled.

What’s more, in the face of high inflation and increasingly budget-conscious consumers, Amazon issued a disappointing forecast for the holiday season — usually its strongest time of year. its shares fell sharply last month. Amazon’s stocks fell about 39 percent since the beginning of the year, though it still has a market capitalization above $1 trillion.

Josh White, associate professor of finance at Vanderbilt University, said the layoffs at Amazon are more troubling than at other big tech companies, “because Amazon is very consumer-oriented, and so far the consumer has stopped there.”

“They have the technology and the ability to see trends or potential slowdowns in consumer spending,” he said. “And that’s starting to push us into a potential recession.”

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 to interview for a full-time job.

That wasn’t entirely surprising: Dean said he saw the signs in August, when the software engineer openings he was tasked with filling were dwindling.

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

Caroline O’Donovan contributed to this report.

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