SAN FRANCISCO — Amazon laid off workers at its corporate campuses Monday, a rare event at one of the nation’s largest corporate employers, sources at the company said.
The job eliminations are mostly concentrated in Amazon’s consumer retail business and involve several hundred employees in its Seattle offices along with hundreds of others elsewhere, a source within the company who was not authorized to speak publicly told USA TODAY.
In a statement, Amazon said that as part of its annual planning process, it is making headcount adjustments across the company involving small reductions in a few areas.
That’s a tiny proportion of Amazon’s close to 300,000 U.S.-based employees but rare for a company that, unlike many, seldom undergoes large cuts.
The firings are part of a shifting talent allocation to businesses within arenas such as Amazon’s Alexa service that are growing, sources said. Those laid off are encouraged to apply for other open positions at the company.
Amazon is still furiously hiring on other fronts. It currently has 4,000 positions open in Seattle and 12,000 globally, all of which are corporate jobs and not in its warehouses or fulfillment centers. In the past five months, Amazon has announced the leasing of at least 1 million more square feet of office space in Seattle, which is estimated to host another 5,000 staffers.
Globally, Amazon has 566,000 employees. While it was unclear how many of those were in the United States, estimates put the number at close to 300,000, including the 90,000 Whole Foods Markets employees who joined last year when Amazon purchased the company.
It has also said it would hire 50,000 more at its second headquarters, which it is currently scouting a home for.
That makes it one of the largest U.S. corporate employers. For contrast, Walmart has more than 1.5 million employees in the United States.