By Mitchell Clark
Amazon has started notifying employees affected by its new round of layoffs, part of its plan to reduce its headcount by around 18,000 people. The move, which comes after a previous round of layoffs, is part of what’s a very painful day for tech workers; Microsoft also announced on Wednesday that it’s cutting around 10,000 jobs, and its CEO has predicted that the tech industry has two difficult years ahead of it.
It’s unclear exactly how many workers are being impacted in this particular round, but the company laid off 2,300 employees in Washington, according to the state’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification system. The majority worked in Seattle, where one of the company’s headquarters is located.
In November, Amazon started its first round of layoffs. At the time, there were reports that around 10,000 people would be affected, including members of its hardware and services, human resources, and retail teams.
In January, Amazon confirmed the layoffs and their massive scale, saying that including the ones from last year, Wednesday’s round, and potential additional cuts in 2023, they would affect 18,000 employees overall. A memo from CEO Andy Jassy posted on the company’s website announced that impacted employees would be notified starting on the 18th.
CNBC reports that people working in the US, Canada, and Costa Rica should know by the end of Wednesday based on memos sent to employees from Doug Herrington, head of worldwide retail, and Beth Galetti, head of human resources. Workers in China will have to wait until after the Chinese New Year, likely in late January or early February. In the November memo, the company said it would be communicating with employee representative bodies in some European countries regarding the layoffs, which was reiterated in Wednesday’s notes.
Herrington’s memo says that US workers will be getting a “60-day non-working transitional period with full pay and benefits, plus an additional several weeks of severance depending on the length of time with the company, a separation payment, transitional benefits, and external job placement support.” He says the cuts are part of “a wider effort to lower our cost to serve so we can continue investing in the wide selection, low prices, and fast shipping that our customers love.”
In October, Amazon announced that its sales were up by 15 percent year over year, helped by its “biggest Prime Day event ever” in July. The company will likely announce its Q4 earnings sometime early next month. In early January, it took out an $8 billion loan to be used for general business purposes.
Amazon’s layoffs are some of the largest in the industry in raw numbers, but the company is far from alone in cutting jobs. We’ve seen major companies, like Meta, Snap, DoorDash, and of course, Microsoft, announce that they plan on eliminating hundreds or thousands of jobs throughout 2022 and 2023. According to CNBC and TrueUp’s tech layoff tracker, Big Tech companies have laid off around 60,000 workers within the past year, while the industry overall has seen nearly 300,000 layoffs since 2022.
Update January 18th, 7:20PM ET: Added layoff numbers from Washington state’s WARN system.
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By Mitchell Clark