Amazon is laying off "hundreds" of employees in its hometown of Seattle, in addition to cutting a similar number of positions around the world, The Seattle Times reported Monday, citing people familiar with the effort, as well as one of the company's spokespeople who confirmed the move. The development comes shortly after a major hiring spree that saw the Washington-based e-commerce giant add thousands of new employees to its operations in the United States, with its hometown by itself now employing 40,000 of them. The majority of the cuts are concentrated in the firm's consumer retail unit responsible for its core business. The layoffs already started and are expected to be completed by the end of the current quarter. A portion of the employees affected by the move will be offered other positions within the company, though the majority of them isn't expected to be given any such options.
A number of the firm's existing employees claim the move is a reaction to the hiring spree that's been underway for around two years now, leaving Amazon in need of a workforce restructuring. A number of the tech giant's units are now understood have been bound by hiring freezes until the overall headcount is balanced. While Amazon is still looking to fill a number of positions in Seattle, the volume of such offered roles is now at its lowest since the last decade. The aggressive diversification of the company's operations has largely been accompanied by a similar growth of its workforce which pushed a number of its units over their annual budgets, insiders claim. The overstaffing issue still isn't believed to be major relative to the size of Amazon if several hundreds of job cuts are all it will take to resolve it; as of late 2017, the company has approximately 542,000 employees around the world.
Amazon will still be looking to add thousands of new jobs to its stateside operations over the course of this year, though the majority of them will be meant to support its logistics operations, i.e. warehouses. The company has recently been criticized in Ohio for not paying living wages to all of its workers, with approximately 700 of them being legally deemed impoverished, though Amazon argued none of them are full-time employees. The firm was $2.1 billion in the black in the final quarter of 2017, having recorded $60.5 billion in revenue over the same period.