Amazon, the second-largest private employer in the United States, announced this week that it was in the process of laying off 18,000 employees. It’s a response to an “uncertain economy” and rapid hiring in recent years, according to the company’s CEO Andy Jassy.
“Long-lived companies go through different stages,” Jassy said in a statement Wednesday. “They’re not in heavy people expansion mode every year.”
The 18,000 job cuts represent about 1.25% of the 1.6 million jobs the company hired early last year. This is also reportedly an increase in the initial number of layoffs the company had planned. In November, multiple media outlets, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, reported that Amazon could cut about 10,000 positions.
Amazon is a major job creator in the triangle. In Wake County he is the third largest private employer and ranks among the top 15 in Durham County, according to data from the North Carolina Department of Labor. Amazon’s largest local presence is his 2 million square foot distribution center in Garner (known as RDU1), a few miles southeast of downtown Raleigh.
But workers at the Garner factory don’t expect the cuts to hurt the local workforce at this time.
RDU1 worker Pastor Ryan Brown, chairman of the Carolina Amazonians United for Solidarity and Empowerment (CAUSE), which aims to unionize its 4,300 employees, said, “Amazon’s widespread layoffs are affecting local Amazon workers. I don’t think I will give it,” he said. Garner plant. Brown and his colleague Mary Hill co-founded his CAUSE last January.
In a statement, Jassy said the job cuts would be most concentrated in Amazon’s human resources department and its stores. In a separate email to The News & Observer, Amazon spokesman Brad Glasser said the stores will include the company’s broader e-commerce retail operations.
“I’m sorry, but I have nothing else to say at this time,” Glasser added.
Amazon isn’t just killing jobs, it’s also selling real estate. Nationwide, we closed dozens of warehouses in 2022 as the pandemic subsided and customers returned to in-person shopping. In September, the company closed its DRT1 shipping station east of Durham, a 260,000-square-foot facility that was the city’s first Amazon fulfillment center when it opened in 2019.
This article was produced with financial support from a coalition of partners led by Innovate Raleigh as part of the Independent Journalism Fellowship Program. N&O maintains full editorial control of the work.
This story was originally published January 6, 2023 at 12:39 PM.