Amazon has confirmed that it is planning to lay off more than 18,000 workers—the most of any large tech company, though not as a percentage of employees. After the Wall Street Journal reported on the layoffs Wednesday, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy issued a statement. "We typically wait to communicate about these outcomes until we can speak with the people who are directly impacted," he said. "However, because one of our teammates leaked this information externally, we decided it was better to share this news earlier so you can hear the details directly from me." He said the review of workforce levels "has been more difficult given the uncertain economy and that we’ve hired rapidly over the last several years."
The 18,000 figure includes cuts that began late last year, when Amazon was expected to lay off around 10,000 workers. The Journal reports that the layoffs will include roughly 5% of Amazon's corporate staff and around 1.2% of its approximately 1.5 million employees worldwide. Jassy said the heaviest cuts will be in Amazon's human resources and retail workforces. Amazon's stock fell around 50% last year as many customers returned to in-person shopping and high inflation reduced demands, CNN reports. Jassy said affected staff would be notified starting Jan. 18. The CEO said he is "deeply aware that these role eliminations are difficult for people, and we don’t take these decisions lightly." (Meta announced in November that it was laying off 11,000 people, around 13% of its workforce.)