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Amazon cuts 9,000 jobs; now at least 27,000 layoffs in 2023

Amazon employed about 10,000 workers in B.C. as of last year
Amazon's new Vancouver office under construction along Georgia Street

Amazon plans to eliminate 9,000 more jobs in the next few weeks, CEO Andy Jassy said in a memo to staff on Monday.

The job cuts would mark the second largest round of layoffs in the company's history, adding to the 18,000 employees the company said it would lay off in January. Yet the company's workforce doubled during the pandemic, however, during a hiring surge across almost the entire tech sector.

In the memo, Jassy said the second phase of the company's annual planning process - which determined what areas of the business to trim - completed this month and led to the additional job cuts. He said Amazon will still hire in some strategic areas.

“Some may ask why we didn’t announce these role reductions with the ones we announced a couple months ago. The short answer is that not all of the teams were done with their analyses in the late fall; and rather than rush through these assessments without the appropriate diligence, we chose to share these decisions as we’ve made them so people had the information as soon as possible,” Jassy said.

This time around, the job cuts will hit profitable areas for the company including its cloud computing unit AWS and its burgeoning advertising business. Twitch, the gaming platform Amazon owns, will also see some layoffs as well as Amazon's PXT organizations, which handle human resources and other functions.

Amazon employed about 10,000 workers in B.C. as of last year, according to BIV's list of top national and global companies operating in B.C. in 2022.

The prior layoffs had also hit PXT, the company's stores division, which encompasses its e-commerce business as well as company’s brick-and-mortar stores such as Amazon Fresh and Amazon Go, and other departments such as the one that runs the virtual assistant Alexa.

Amazon has also been cutting back on other areas. Earlier this month, the company said it would pause construction on on its headquarters building in northern Virginia, though the first phase of that project will open this June and welcome 8,000 employees.

Like other tech companies, including Facebook parent Meta and Google parent Alphabet, Amazon ramped up hiring during the pandemic to meet the demand from homebound Americans that were increasingly buying stuff online to keep themselves safe from the virus. Its workforce - which encompasses warehouse workers as well as corporate roles - doubled to more than 1.6 million people in about two years. But demand slowed as the worst of the pandemic eased - and the company began pausing or cancelling its warehouse expansion plans last year to make sure it doesn't bleed unnecessary money.

As fears over a potential recession started growing, it also began making other trims in areas. In the past few months, it has shut down a subsidiary that’s been selling fabrics for nearly 30 years and shuttered its hybrid virtual, in-home care service Amazon Care among other cost-cutting moves.

Haleluya Hadero, The Associated Press