New Delhi: Amazon, one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world, announced that it will be laying off more than 18,000 employees in the coming months.

This marks the largest job cut in the company’s history. The layoffs come as the company faces slowing online sales growth and the potential of a recession that could affect its customers’ spending power.

The job cuts began last year and primarily affected Amazon’s Devices and Services group, which is responsible for building the Alexa digital assistant and Echo smart speakers. The latest round of layoffs, set to begin on Wednesday, will primarily impact the retail division and human resources.

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While the layoffs represent only about 1% of Amazon’s total workforce, which includes hundreds of thousands of hourly warehouse and delivery personnel, it represents about 6% of the company’s 350,000 corporate employees worldwide.

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“Amazon has weathered uncertain and difficult economies in the past, and we will continue to do so,” said CEO Andy Jassy in a memo to employees. “These changes will help us pursue our long-term opportunities with a stronger cost structure.”

Amazon’s shares were largely unchanged in pre-market trading before the stock exchanges opened in New York, after closing down 2.1% at $96.05 on Tuesday.

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