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We blew too much money hiring like crazy so we gave you the boot – Amazon

Meanwhile, layoffs continue at Twitter, Meta, WeWork, many others

Amazon on Wednesday emailed staff to explain what's said to be the largest layoff in the mega-corp's history.

Two weeks ago, CEO Andy Jassy published a blog post declaring his internet empire's intention to eliminate more than 18,000 jobs, including cuts disclosed in November. He didn't cite a specific reason beyond mentioning the "uncertain economy" and rapid hiring in recent years. Like other organizations, Amazon went on a bonkers hiring spree during the pandemic.

On Wednesday, evidence of job cuts showed up in Washington state's Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) system: 2,300 Amazon workers in the e-commerce giant's home state will be let go as of March 3, 2023.

That same day, internal email messages, from retail chief Doug Herrington and head of human resources Beth Galetti, were sent to inform staff about the process.

The memos, obtained by CNBC, say that most of the layoffs are occurring in the the Amazon Stores business and in the corp's People Experience & Technology (PXT) organization. Those affected should have been notified by the end of Wednesday, January 18.

Herrington said the hiring done "during COVID" no longer fits Amazon's cost structure and describes the role eliminations as a necessary step to keep prices low.

Here's where we point out Amazon recorded $127 billion in sales in the three months to September 30, up 15 percent year on year, and profit slipped nine percent to $2.9 billion in that quarter alone. Its end-of-year results are due soon.

"While it will be painful to say goodbye to many of our talented colleagues, it is an important 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," he said.

Galetti said notifications have been sent to affected workers in the US, Canada, and Costa Rica, while redundant workers in China will receive notifications following the Chinese New Year, on January 22.

Asked to comment, an Amazon spokesperson pointed to Jassy's previously cited January 4 remarks on the subject.

Ax swings through tech world

'Tis the season for staff reductions now that the holiday season has passed and dismissals look a bit less heartless than pre-festivity terminations. Microsoft on Wednesday announced plans to dump 10,000 jobs.

Salesforce on January 4 said [PDF] it would eliminate 10 percent of its workforce, or about 8,000 jobs. That same day, Twitter, which has been hemorrhaging staff with abandon since Elon Musk took over, cut 257 positions in Seattle, per Washington state's WARN system. And last week, on January 13, Meta trimmed 419 positions in Seattle and 307 positions in nearby Bellevue, Washington, as disclosed by the company in November.

On Thursday, January 19, WeWork revealed its Q4 2022 financial results, which brought word that the office-rental biz will reduce its headcount by 300. And a day earlier, in addition to Amazon and Microsoft, there were similar reports of job cuts at Sophos (~450), Teladoc Health (~300), 8x8 (~155), Benevity (~137), and several other firms.

These job cuts haven't yet led to a surge in US unemployment insurance claims. According to the Department of Labor, for the week ending January 14 [PDF], preliminary figures indicate there were 190,000 claims for unemployment insurance, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 205,000. And the four-week moving average was 206,000, a decrease of 6,500 from the previous week's unrevised average of 212,500. ®

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