After decades of near-constant expansion, Amazon began laying off corporate workers on Tuesday, becoming the latest tech giant to slash its workforce in recent weeks.
Amazon didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Within hours of the layoffs beginning, employees started posting on LinkedIn and anonymous workplace app Blind to say they had been cut and were looking for new jobs.
The cuts will mostly affect areas such as retail, human resources and devices. Earlier this month, Amazon announced a broad hiring freeze among its white-collar workforce that would last at least “the next few months.”
The cuts are expected to be the e-commerce giant’s largest round of layoffs in its history, marking a big turnaround for the company which has hired aggressively over the last decade.
Amazon is expected to continue hiring in its warehouses, where it is adding staff to support its busy holiday season.
In recent weeks, Twitter, Salesforce, Facebook parent Meta, and other technology companies have announced significant layoffs or hiring freezes, following months of warning signs, such as tech start-ups finding it harder to raise capital.
Dan Ives, a financial analyst with Wedbush Securities, told The Washington Post on Monday that the layoffs may signal an imminent recession. Tech companies, he said, “got significantly bloated, and they’re not built for a softer economy like we’re seeing.”
Meta cut 11,000 jobs, or 13 percent of its workforce last week. Ride-hailing service Lyft also shed 13 percent of its staff. Fintech firm Stripe and real estate marketplace Zillow have also announced layoffs since October.
Earlier this month, Twitter CEO Elon Musk cut half his company’s staff shortly after acquiring the social network.
Mass layoffs represent a sharp reversal for Amazon, which has been expanding for much of its history. At the end of September, it employed more than 1.5 million workers, a 5 percent increase from the year before. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Post.)
Amazon saw huge growth during the coronavirus crisis as people spent more time at home and increasingly did their shopping online. In May, the company acknowledged that it had staffed up too quickly at its warehouses to keep pace with demand which, by then, was cooling.
Moreover, in the face of high inflation and increasingly budget-conscious consumers, Amazon issued a disappointing forecast for the holiday season — typically its strongest time of the year — sending its stock plummeting last month. Amazon’s stock has tumbled nearly 39 percent since the beginning of the year, though it still has a market capitalization above $1 trillion.
Mandy Dean, 39, was a contract recruiter in Chicago for Amazon Luna, the company’s cloud gaming platform. The company let her contract expire in September, although she said she was on track to interview to go full-time.
It wasn’t a total surprise as Dean said she saw the signs in August, as the software engineer openings she was tasked with filling dwindled.
“It was bad timing for it all to happen,” Dean said. “I really liked working for Amazon. I liked the culture, the people I worked with, the job itself. It was a rough situation but there was nothing I could do.”