Report: Amazon to imminently begin laying off 10,000 workers

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Amazon will reportedly reduce corporate headcount.

Widescale layoffs will reportedly begin at Amazon the week of Nov. 14.

According to CNBC coverage of an initial report in the New York Times, Amazon is set to begin eliminating 10,000 corporate and technology roles, starting this week. The jobs that will be cut are reportedly primarily in the areas of devices, retail, and HR.

Although Amazon has reportedly not made a final selection of the exact number of jobs it will eliminate, this would represent the largest layoff in company history, representing less than 1% of the e-tail giant’s total worldwide workforce and about 3% of its corporate staff.

Amazon takes a corporate hiring break
These job cuts would follow a recently announced hiatus in corporate hiring. In a note originally released to Amazon employees on Wednesday, Nov. 2, Amazon confirmed previous media reports of a pause on new incremental hires in its corporate workforce for the next few months.

Amazon said that in some cases, it will hire backfills to replace employees who move on to new opportunities, and in some targeted places it will continue to hire people incrementally. The company also said it still intends to hire a “meaningful number of people” in 2023, and remains excited about its “significant investments” in its larger businesses, as well as newer initiatives like Prime Video, Alexa, grocery, Kuiper (satellites), Zoox (autonomous vehicles), and healthcare.

The retailer went on a major hiring spree in Sept. 2021, when it was still achieving record-breaking results from increased online shopping by consumers homebound due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the company, more than 1 million people globally applied for 40,000 corporate and technology roles across 220-plus locations in the U.S., as well as tens of thousands of hourly positions in its operations network, during its 24-hour Career Day virtual hiring event on Sep. 15, 2021.

Amazon hired more than 450,000 people in the U.S. between the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 and September 2021, becoming the largest job creator in the U.S. in the process. In 2020, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon says it hired over 400,000 employees in the U.S.—of which, more than 60% were getting paid more than they were at their previous job.

[Read more: Amazon in hiring blitz; giving bonus to hires who show proof of vaccination]

However, the company reported a net loss of $2 billion, or $0.20 per share, for the second quarter ended June 30, 2022, compared with net income of $7.8 billion, or $0.76 per diluted share, in the year-earlier period. Net revenue did surpass analyst projections.

During the second quarter, Amazon reduced its headcount by about 100,000 employees, and CEO Andy Jassy said the company would scale back operations as the sales boom it experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic cools. Amazon also posted a net loss in the first quarter of fiscal 2022, with analysts expecting profit, while essentially meeting revenue expectations.

Amazon cuts back on supply chain spending
Amazon is also reportedly downscaling its physical delivery infrastructure. Recent Bloomberg reports indicate that consulting firm MWPVL International Inc. estimates that Amazon has either closed down or decided not to open 42 U.S. warehouses with a combined space of close to 25 million square feet.

MWPVL also says that Amazon is delaying the opening of another 21 U.S. supply chain facilities, and has canceled the opening of some warehouses in Europe, mostly concentrated in Spain.

Amazon has not yet publicly commented on the reported layoffs. To read more from CNBC, click here.