The company told Wall Street that it has tightened its belt in the past and could do so again. Amazon cut 1,500 jobs, including hourly workers, in 2001 during the internet crash, which accounted for 15 percent of its employees at the time. It also laid off a few hundred corporate employees in early 2018 after another period of rapid expansion.
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Last week, Amazon executives met with institutional investors, according to three people, just as its stock plunged to its lowest level since the early days of the pandemic, wiping out $1 trillion in value since Andy Jassy took over as CEO last year.
Mr. Jassy, who previously ran Amazon’s profitable cloud computing business, has been closely scrutinizing the business to cut costs quickly. He initially held back from expanding the supercharged warehouse during the pandemic, then moved on to other parts of the company.
In recent months, Amazon has also closed or scaled back a handful of initiatives, including Amazon Care, its service that provides primary and urgent health care that failed to find enough customers; Scout, a cooler-sized home delivery robot that uses 400 people, according to Bloomberg; and Fabric.com, a subsidiary that has sold sewing supplies for three decades.
From April through September, it cut staff by nearly 80,000 people, primarily cutting hourly workers through significant attrition.
Amazon froze hiring at several smaller teams in September. In October, it stopped filling more than 10,000 open positions in its core retail business. Two weeks ago, it froze corporate hiring across the company, including its cloud computing division, for the next few months.
The news came so suddenly that recruiters didn’t receive the job candidates’ talking points until about a week later, according to a copy of the talking points seen by The New York Times.