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Amazon cuts another 9,000 jobs signaling new era for the company

caption: A U.S. flag flies in front of the Amazon Spheres on the company's corporate campus in downtown Seattle, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021.
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A U.S. flag flies in front of the Amazon Spheres on the company's corporate campus in downtown Seattle, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021.

Amazon delivered another dose of uncertainty to employees Monday morning: CEO Andy Jassy announced another 9,000 jobs will be eliminated in the coming weeks, making for a total of 27,000 cuts by the company so far this year.

Amazon had already carried out 18,000 layoffs earlier this year — the largest round of cuts in the company's history. Until now, the company has had a seemingly insatiable appetite for growth.

But Amazon and its Big Tech peers have been letting thousands of workers go in recent months, a sign of a sea change in an industry that once seemed able to generate unlimited wealth and opportunity in the U.S. economy.

“For several years leading up to this one, most of our businesses added a significant amount of headcount,” Jassy said in the email to employees. “This made sense given what was happening in our businesses and the economy as a whole. However, given the uncertain economy in which we reside, and the uncertainty that exists in the near future, we have chosen to be more streamlined in our costs and headcount.”

In the past week, Amazon and Facebook announced they will conduct additional waves of mass layoffs. It’s unclear when the tech industry will be done thinning its ranks.

“We are not used to these companies talking about navigating economic uncertainties,” said Ekin Yasin, a University of Washington professor with a focus on jobs in the tech sector. “All of their announcements are about not knowing the future — the same future that they talked about so hopefully as something that only allowed for more and more growth.”

Amazon’s latest layoffs affect its corporate workforce and will not apply to delivery drivers or workers at fulfillment centers, according to Kelly Nantel, director of global media relations for the company. She declined to say how many positions in the Seattle region will be cut.

Jassy said Amazon hopes to finish this latest round of layoffs by mid to late April.

The latest job cuts will primarily impact Amazon Web services, recruiting and human resources, advertising, and Twitch.

Both waves of layoffs are the result of Amazon’s annual planning process, in which managers decide where company dollars should be spent. Amazon did not carry out all 27,000 layoffs in January because some teams hadn’t finished their review process at that time, according to Jassy.

Amazon will continue “limited hiring” in some businesses that the company has decided to prioritize.

Beyond layoffs, Amazon is closing retail stores and shutting down experimental businesses, like primary healthcare and delivery robots.

This new, more conservative, Amazon cuts a sharp contrast from the company known for the catchphrase “It’s always Day 1.”

With all of this belt tightening, it might finally be a new day at Amazon.

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