Amazon CEO Says Company Will Cut 18,000 Positions

The e-commerce giant cut positions last year and is poised to cut thousands more this year.
Amazon logo building
  • Amazon plans to lay off around 18,000 workers, its CEO said.
  • The cuts started last November and will continue into this year, according to a blog post.
  • Amazon accelerated hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the company has slowed as shoppers returned to physical stores.

Amazon will in total lay off more than 18,000 workers, as the company eliminates more positions following cuts that started late last year. 

According to a Jan. 4 blog post authored by Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, the 18,000 cuts include the eliminations the company already made in November last year. The majority of job cuts will occur on the e-commerce giant’s Amazon Stores team and its PXT (product, experience and technology) solutions teams, but will also impact other teams, according to the note.

In a November blog post, Dave Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president of devices and services, first confirmed the company was eliminating positions in the devices and services division of the company, which works on products like Amazon’s Echo and Alexa devices — though he did not say how many positions would ultimately be eliminated, Retail Leader previously reported. The retailer also in November said it was pausing incremental hires in its corporate workforce for at least several months.

Amazon plans to begin alerting impacted employees later this month on Jan. 18, according to the note. Jassy said the retailer was releasing the news ahead of the layoffs after someone at the company leaked the plans externally. Jassy said the company intended to support the employees impacted by the layoffs via separation payments, transitional health insurance benefits and external job placement support. 

“Amazon has weathered uncertain and difficult economies in the past, and we will continue to do so,” Jassy said in his note. “These changes will help us pursue our long-term opportunities with a stronger cost structure; however, I’m also optimistic that we’ll be inventive, resourceful, and scrappy in this time when we’re not hiring expansively and eliminating some roles. Companies that last a long time go through different phases. They’re not in heavy people expansion mode every year.” 

Amazon accelerated hiring when it boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic as shoppers vastly turned to e-commerce, but growth for the company has slowed and disappointed Wall Street expectations since shoppers have shifted back to in-person shopping and as consumers face tough economic conditions. The retailer last year also reported a disappointing holiday shopping forecast that failed to meet expectations, CNBC reported. 

Amazon is the latest in a string of tech companies to announce layoffs in the past year. Meta (the parent company of Facebook) announced in November that it would lay off 11,000 workers. Twitter also laid off thousands of its employees after it went through a restructuring following a $44 billion purchase by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Salesforce, the cloud-based software company, also this week also announced it would cut about 10% of its workforce.