Amazon axes 18,000 jobs to cut costs in second wave of layoffs

By Amanda Pauley | Published: 5-Jan-2023

“Economic uncertainty” is cited as the key reason behind this second round of job losses at the e-commerce giant

Amazon is cutting more than 18,000 jobs due to “economic uncertainty” in the largest set of layoffs in the firm’s history. 

The online retail giant said the majority of job losses would come from its bricks-and-mortar stores Amazon Fresh and Go. 

The workforce in its PXT organisations, which handles human resources and other functions, will also be affected. 

The e-tailer did not specify which countries the cuts would take place, but said it would include Europe.

In a memo sent to staff, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said the company is making cuts to help reign in costs.

"This year’s review has been more difficult given the uncertain economy and that we have hired rapidly over the last several years,” he said. 

“These changes will help us pursue our long term opportunities with a stronger cost structure.”

He added: "We do not take these decisions lightly or underestimate how much they might affect the lives of those who are impacted.

"Companies that last a long time go through different phases. 

“They are not in heavy people expansion mode every year.”

Employees affected are expected to be told by 18 January.

Jassy said the announcement of job losses had been brought forward because an employee had leaked the cuts externally.

What is happening at Amazon?

This is the second wave of redundancies Amazon has made in the past few months as it navigates the uncertain economic climate. 

The online giant made several thousand job cuts just before the 2022 Christmas break.

This affected employees working in Amazon’s Devices and Books business.

This included the team behind its Alexa voice assistant.

Amazon recorded an operating loss of almost USD$2.9bn in the last reported quarter, excluding its cloud computing business. 

Shares in the company have also fallen by almost 50% over the past 12 months.

The Seattle-based e-commerce giant employs 1.5 million people. 

Amazon is not the only tech company to have made mass layoffs recently. 

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced 11,000 job cuts in November 2022.

Increased competition, “ads signal loss” and a wider “macroeconomic downturn” which hit stocks were cited as key reasons. 

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the cuts were "the most difficult changes we have made in Meta's history".

There have also been rolling layoffs at social media company Twitter under new owner Elon Musk.

Cuts have been made in the public policy, media and entertainment teams. 

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