As Amazon prepares to open a second headquarters in North America, it’s laying off hundreds of corporate employees.
Amazon, based in Seattle, Washington, told reporters the layoffs were part of its annual planning and that there would also be some “aggressive hiring” and said, “For affected employees, we work to find roles in the areas where we are hiring.”
Geekwire, which reports on Seattle tech firms, cited Amazon’s frugality leadership principle that states in part, “Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency and invention,” but it also noted that cutbacks were unusual for Amazon.
Amazon hired nearly 130,000 employees globally in 2017, excluding acquisitions, ending the year with 566,000 full-time and part-time employees. As it notes, “Employment levels fluctuate due to seasonal factors affecting our business. Additionally, we utilize independent contractors and temporary personnel to supplement our workforce.”
Citing “a person familiar with the matter,” CNBC reported that the layoffs would impact the consumer retail business, “which includes Amazon’s toys, books and groceries units, to make room for headcount in businesses that are growing, like Alexa, AWS and digital entertainment.”
TechCrunch noted Amazon had already had layoffs at some retail subsidiaries including Zappos (30 people, recently) and Quidsi (250 people, a year ago).
“The moves suggest Amazon may be trying to rein in spending and consolidate some of its retail businesses,” the publication surmised.