Amazon to lay off 9,000 more workers, including some at AWS

Amazon will fire about 9,000 more workers from several business units, including AWS, in the coming weeks, according to a statement released today by company CEO Andy Jassy. The announcement comes two months after Amazon unveiled plans to lay off 18,000 employees.

In his official statement, Jassy said that most of the layoffs in this second round will affect employees at AWS, PXT (People Experience and Technology, the company’s HR arm), Advertising, and Twitch, the popular livestreaming service purchased by Amazon in 2014 for nearly $1 billion.

Jassy also wrote that the company would provide severance pay, transitional health insurance and assistance with job placement.

“Some may ask why we didn’t announce these role reductions with the ones we announced a couple months ago,” he wrote. “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.”

Amazon is far from the only tech company to make major staffing cuts in recent months — just this month, Meta announced that it would fire 10,000 employees, over and above the 11,000 job cuts that it announced four months ago. Twitter’s latest round of layoffs, which became public in late February, has seen the social media firm reduced to around 2,000 employees, sharply down from 7,500 immediately before Elon Musk’s controversial takeover.

After a year in which technology companies announced massive layoffs, tech sector layoffs in 2023 are looking no different — in fact, the year is starting off worse than 2022. Facing an uncertain global economy, technology companies have accelerated the pace of layoffs in 2023, after sweeping job cuts rocked the industry last year. In all, about 162,000 tech workers have lost their jobs this year, according to layoff tracker TrueUp.

One narrative around these layoffs has been that supporting workers, rather than engineers, have been most in the crosshairs of cost-cutting efforts. The news today that AWS — one of Amazon’s biggest revenue-generating businesses — has been affected is a new wrinkle. Even AWS has not been immune to current macroeconomic conditions. Revenue growth slowed sharply in the fourth quarter of 2022, to 20% in year-on-year terms. That’s well below the 27.5% and 33% figures seen in the previous two quarters. Nor is it the only major cloud provider to experience slowing growth, with both Microsoft and Google reporting slight but noticeable downturns in the same quarter.

Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky, on a recent earnings call, said that the company expects economic conditions to continue to act as a brake on revenues for the better part of 2023.

“As we look ahead, we expect these optimization efforts (reduced spending) will continue to be a headwind to AWS growth in at least the next couple of quarters,” he said.

Cloud Computing, Technology Industry