In a stunning reversal of traditional holiday hiring patterns and just days ahead of one of Amazon’s biggest shopping days of the year on Black Friday, the smile-wearing, e-commerce juggernaut is reportedly cutting as many as 10,000 corporate and technology jobs that will impact the Seattle job market most heavily.
The New York Times first broke the news followed by CNBC and the Wall Street Journal, attributing the gloomy forecast to persons familiar with the matter, though no sources were named.
Earlier this month, Amazon said it was freezing corporate hiring “for the next few months,” citing employment uncertainty, and “how many people we have hired in recent years.” Shares in Amazon have fallen more than 40% in 2022 so far amid a broader market decline.
As of this fall, Amazon employed more than 1.5 million full- and part-time workers around he world, many in warehouses. The 10,000 expected layoffs would comprise about 3% of Amazon’s corporate employees according to the Times.
News of potential layoffs comes at a pivotal time for the retail industry. Despite recession fears and inflationary pressures, the National Retail Federation is predicting a 6% to 8% sales increase over last year during the holiday shopping months ahead.
What is also pivotal are the pending anti-competitive, anti-trust assertions that threaten to break up the company. Could Amazon be playing a strategic game of chess, or Monopoly, with its governmental opponents?
Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, Meta, laid off 11,000 people last week — about 13% of its staff. Plans by Facebook parent company Meta to slash 726 positions in Seattle and Bellevue were confirmed Monday by the state Employment Security Department.
The company is focused on competing with rising platforms like TikTok and trying to build a metaverse that people actually want to spend time in. Meta has spent $15 billion so far in its quest to become “a metaverse company” and plans to spend billions more — plummeting stock price and leg-less avatars notwithstanding.
“I want to take accountability for these decisions and for how we got here,” wrote CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a letter to employees. “I know this is tough for everyone, and I’m especially sorry to those impacted.”
Twitter announced outsized layoffs on November 4, with about 50% of the staff cut.
“Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day,” pronounced Elon Musk, the new owner who also bears the title of world’s richest person. Musk’s $44 billion purchase of Twitter has saddled the company with more than $13 billion of new debt.
Seattle-based Redfin, a brokerage and listing site, announced this month it would lay off 862 employees nationwide, including 75 in Washington, and shut down its house-flipping business. That followed an earlier cut of 470 jobs nationwide in June. Redfin employed roughly 6,500 workers late last year.
Despite the size of these layoffs, all job cuts announced so far represent only a tiny fraction of the region’s tech workforce. State data shows more than 160,000 workers at Seattle-area firms, and more than 190,000 statewide, at companies focused on information technology.
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