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Report: Bezos tells consumers to avoid major purchases

Jeff Bezos arrives at the Statue Of Liberty Museum Opening Celebration at Battery Park
Jeff Bezos is advising consumers to hang onto their money. (Photo via Shutterstock)

As the holiday shopping season begins, the founder of Amazon is recommending that consumers hold off on buying big-ticket items.

Jeff Bezos, the founder and former CEO of the internet giant who now serves as executive chair, said during a recent televised interview with CNN that if possible, consumers should store some “dry powder” by delaying expenditures such as big-screen TVs, refrigerators, and new automobiles.

If we’re not in a recession right now, we’re likely to be in one very soon,” Bezos told CNN. In a previous tweet from his verified Twitter account dated Oct. 18, Bezos said, “(T)he probabilities in this economy tell you to batten down the hatches.”

During the same interview with CNN, Bezos also said he intends to donate most of wealth, estimated to total about $124 billion, while he is still alive. However, Bezos cautioned that he is finding it hard to distribute wealth in a “levered way” and he is “building capacity” to make largescale philanthropic donations.

When Bezos first transitioned from serving as Amazon CEO to his executive chair role in July 2021, he said he wanted to have time and energy to devote to charitable efforts such as the Day 1 Fund and Bezos Earth Fund, as well as the Blue Origin private space program and The Washington Post.

Bezos, Amazon’s biggest shareholder and the world’s richest man, still has tremendous influence at the company he founded in 1995 as an online bookstore and built into a $1.75 trillion retail, entertainment and logistics giant that is also the second-largest private employer in the United States (Walmart is first.) 

Amazon lays off workers, pauses hiring

Amazon, which 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, has been taking steps to reduce labor costs. Durng 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.

Since then, the e-tail giant has confirmed that it will eliminate an unspecified number of jobs in the devices and services organization (responsible for product lines such as Amazon Echo and Kindle devices) as part of consolidation in the department. Previous media reports indicated Amazon was preparing to begin eliminating 10,000 corporate and technology roles. The jobs that will be cut are said to be 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.

These job cuts follow a recently announced hiatus in corporate hiring. The company said it still intends to hire a “meaningful number of people” in 2023.

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