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Amazon’s latest round of layoffs includes HR

Amazon has cut another 9,000 jobs in HR, Amazon Web Services and advertising, citing the need to be 'leaner' due to economic uncertainty. The company laid off 18,000 in January.

Citing economic uncertainty, Amazon is continuing to trim away at its workforce, planning to cut 9,000 workers in technology and HR areas. That's in addition to laying off 18,000 workers in January. 

Positions to be affected by the latest round of cuts are in Amazon Web Services; Twitch, an online live streaming platform; HR, which the company calls People Experience and Technology Solutions or PXT Solutions; and advertising.

"The overriding tenet of our annual planning this year was to be leaner," said Andy Jassy, Amazon CEO, in a message sent to Amazon employees Monday. He said the goal is to continue to "invest robustly in the key long-term customer experiences."

Jassy added that Amazon will continue with some "limited hiring in some of our businesses in strategic areas where we've prioritized allocating more resources."

The overriding tenet of our annual planning this year was to be leaner.
Andy JassyCEO, Amazon

Facebook's parent company, Meta, citing its own push for "efficiency," recently said it would lay off 10,000 workers, including recruiters in its HR department. 

Amazon's full- and part-time workforce has doubled in four years, according to its U.S. Securities and Exchange filings, which were reported as follows:

  • 2019: 798,000
  • 2020: 1,298,000
  • 2021: 1,608,000
  • 2022: 1,541,000

This increase in headcount "made sense, given what was happening in our businesses and the economy as a whole," Jassy said, in his note. Many tech businesses increased headcount significantly soon after the start of COVID-19, when it became apparent that online shopping was increasing rapidly.

That another layoff would so quickly follow its January round was explained by the ongoing process of identifying business priorities. 

Two separate cuts, one goal

"Some may ask why we didn't announce these role reductions with the ones we announced a couple months ago," Jassy wrote. "The short answer is that not all of the teams were done with their analyses in the late fall" and they didn't want rush though its decisions. 

One change Amazon made that didn't get a lot of attention was the fate of CamperForce. Today's layoffs were corporate, and CamperForce is operational.

"We're always looking for ways to try and streamline the hiring process for our team and for people looking for jobs," said Sam Stephenson, an Amazon spokesperson, in an email statement. "As part of these efforts, we've decided to fold CamperForce hiring into our regular seasonal hiring process."

CamperForce is a novel program to appeal to people who live full- or part-time in recreational vehicles and could travel when needed. Various RV sites noted the disappearance of the CamperForce webpage in January. Amazon relayed the news to CamperForce participants in mid-December.

An Internet archive page from December shows what the site looked like. That same page doesn't exist today. 

A 2020 movie, "Nomadland," described in part life on the road, which included people who took jobs in an Amazon fulfillment center. 

Patrick Thibodeau covers HCM and ERP technologies for TechTarget Editorial. He's worked for more than two decades as an enterprise IT reporter.

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