In a rare move, Amazon is planning to cut hundreds of jobs, several news outlets reported Monday, with most of the layoffs expected at the mega-retailer’s Seattle headquarters.
What prompted the cuts?
The layoffs are part of the company’s “annual planning process,” Amazon said in a statement to the Seattle Times.
“We are making head count adjustments across the company — small reductions in a couple of places and aggressive hiring in many others.”
The Seattle Times reported the layoffs will primarily impact the company’s consumer retail business. But, it said, there would also be several hundred additional layoffs “elsewhere in Amazon’s global operations.”
The layoffs follow months of hirings freezes across various departments in the company. Before that, Amazon was hiring rapidly and more than doubled their employees in a span of four years to more than 40,000 people. In that time, Amazon had also become the country’s second largest corporate employer.
Such layoffs are rare for Amazon, the Seattle Times said, and could indicate that the company is seeking to consolidate subsidiary businesses, such as the Amazon-owned online shoe retailer Zappos.
The layoffs come while Amazon is also seeking to build a second major headquarters in the United States, and has been conducting a high-profile search for the right location. The company has said the project would create up to 50,000 new jobs and generate $5 billion in investment.
More than 200 cities applied to host the facility. Last month, Amazon announced its list of 20 finalists, which includes Atlanta, Boston, Chicago and New York.
Despite corporate cutbacks, Amazon is showing no sign of slowing down hiring at their warehouses. CEO Jeff Bezos has indicated that following its success, he plans to “double down” on Amazon’s voice-activated software Alexa.