Amazon starts cutting thousands of workers

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

Amazon is expected to cut about 10,000 jobs, or about 3% of its company workforce. The company began communicating the layoffs to employees Tuesday afternoon, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Amazon plans to lay off thousands of corporate workers

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.

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

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

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

Amazon is expected to continue hiring at its warehouses to support its busy holiday season.

Twitter, Salesforce, Facebook parent Meta and other tech companies have announced mass layoffs or hiring freezes in recent weeks after months of warning signs, such as tech start-ups finding it harder to raise capital.

Dan Ives, a financial analyst at Wedbush Securities, told The Washington Post on Monday that the layoffs could signal a looming recession. Tech companies, he said, “have become very bloated, and they weren’t built for the weak economy that we’re seeing.”

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

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

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The mass layoffs represent a sharp reversal for Amazon, which has been expanding for most of its history. It employed more than 1.5 million people at the end of September, up 5% from the previous year. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Post.)

Amazon has seen huge growth during the coronavirus crisis as people spend more time at home and shop more online. In May, the company admitted that its warehouses were being staffed too quickly to keep up with cooling demand.

In addition, in the face of high inflation and increasingly budget-conscious consumers, Amazon issued disappointing forecasts for the holidays — typically the busiest time of year — sending its shares tumbling last month. Amazon’s stock price has fallen nearly 39% since the beginning of the year, but its market value is still more than $1 trillion.

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Mandy Dean, 39, is a Chicago-based contract recruiter for Amazon Luna, the company’s cloud gaming platform. The company let her contract expire in September, though she said she was preparing to interview full-time.

That’s not entirely surprising, since Dean said she saw signs in August that the number of software engineer job openings she was tasked with filling was dwindling.

“The timing of none of this is good,” Dean said. “I really love working at Amazon. I love the culture, the people I work with, and the job itself. It’s a tough situation, but there’s nothing I can do about it.”

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