Amazon says it plans to lay off more than 18,000 employees as the global economic outlook continues to worsen.
Several teams will be affected, including the human resources department and Amazon Stores, according to a memo from CEO Andy Jassy shared with employees.
“Companies that last a long time go through different phases. They’re not in heavy people expansion mode every year,” he said.
Jassy had said in November that job cuts at the e-commerce giant would continue into early 2023. Multiple outlets reported in the fall that Amazon had planned to cut around 10,000 employees.
Amazon and other tech firms significantly ramped up hiring over the past couple of years as the pandemic shifted consumers’ habits toward e-commerce.
Now, many of these seemingly untouchable tech companies are experiencing whiplash and laying off thousands of workers as people return to pre-pandemic habits and macroeconomic conditions deteriorate.
Jassy, in his memo, said Amazon’s executives recently met to determine how to slim down the company and prioritize “what matters most to customers and the long-term health of our businesses.”
“This year’s review has been more difficult given the uncertain economy and that we’ve hired rapidly over the last several years,” he added.
The layoffs will help Amazon pursue long-term opportunities with a stronger cost structure, Jassy said. But he called the cuts a “difficult decision,” noting he is “deeply aware that these role eliminations are difficult for people, and we don’t take these decisions lightly or underestimate how much they might affect the lives of those who are impacted.”
The company will start informing affected staff from January 18, he added.
Amazon’s business initially boomed during the pandemic, as consumers relied on online shopping for just about everything.
This year, however, the company is confronting a shift back to in-person shopping as well as surging inflation that has sharply reduced consumers’ demand.
In October, Amazon disappointed Wall Street with a holiday season forecast that woefully missed analysts’ expectations. The company’s stock fell about 50% last year.
Like Jassy, a number of other tech founders and CEOs have since admitted they failed to accurately gauge pandemic demand.
Facebook parent Meta recently announced 11,000 job cuts, the largest in the company’s history. Twitter also announced widespread job cuts after Elon Musk bought the company for $44 billion.
Salesforce this week said it would cut 10% of its staff.