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Amazon layoffs likely coming for retail and HR divisions in the latest round of historic cuts

January 18, 2023, 9:41 AM UTC
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy speaks during the New York Times DealBook Summit
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Amazon.com Inc., grappling with slowing online sales growth and bracing for a possible recession, is poised to kick off a new round of deep job cuts. 

The company announced earlier this month that it was laying off more than 18,000 employees among its corporate ranks — the largest job cull in its history. 

The eliminations started last year and initially fell hardest on Amazon’s Devices and Services group, which builds the Alexa digital assistant and Echo smart speakers. The latest round, scheduled to commence Wednesday, will mostly affect the retail division and human resources.  

While the cuts represent only about 1% of the total workforce, which includes hundreds of thousands of hourly warehouse and delivery personnel, they amount to about 6% of Amazon’s 350,000 corporate employees around the globe.

“Amazon has weathered uncertain and difficult economies in the past, and we will continue to do so,” Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy said earlier this month in a memo to employees. “These changes will help us pursue our long-term opportunities with a stronger cost structure.” 

The world’s largest online retailer spent much of last year adjusting to a sharp slowdown in e-commerce growth as shoppers returned to pre-pandemic habits. Amazon delayed warehouse openings and halted hiring in its retail group. It broadened the freeze to the company’s corporate staff and then began making cuts.

Amazon is among several large tech companies that are trimming their ranks, including Cisco Systems Inc., Intel Corp., Meta Platforms Inc., Qualcomm Inc. and Salesforce Inc.

In his memo, Jassy said the Seattle-based company would provide severance, transitional health benefits and job placement to affected workers.

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