US e-commerce giant Amazon will fire over 18,000 employees in the coming weeks, CEO Andy Jassy announced in a message to employees published on Amazon’s website on Thursday.
According to Jassy, the “difficult” decision was made as part of planning for 2023 amid an “uncertain economy,” and aims to “help pursue our long-term opportunities with a stronger cost structure.”
“We plan to eliminate just over 18,000 roles. Several teams are impacted; however, the majority of role eliminations are in our Amazon Stores and PXT organizations,” the message read. Jassy said the company will start notifying impacted employees of their layoffs on January 18. The firings will largely impact the company’s e-commerce and human resources divisions, he added.
Amazon began its layoffs in November, with reports at the time claiming that the company planned to let around 10,000 employees go. However, as Jassy explained, after further assessment of the economic conditions, it became apparent that more layoffs will be needed to keep the company afloat amid a drop in consumer demand and a shift back to in-person shopping among the public.
Amazon’s workforce nearly doubled over the past two years due to soaring demand for online services amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the company’s revenue growth slowed once the pandemic restrictions were lifted. In October, the online retailer reported flat earnings, falling short of revenue expectations.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon has more than 1.5 million workers including warehouse staff. The company plans to pay severance to those who are laid off, and provide 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… I’m 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,” Jassy said.