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Amazon cut 67,000 jobs in 2022, the first yearly decline in 20 years

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 2/6/2023 Tomi Kilgore
© Getty Images Inc. had a pretty bad year in 2022, with the e-commerce and cloud giant recording its biggest loss ever, and with its stock suffering a yearly record loss. Its employees had a bad year, too: For the first time in 20 years, the company shrank its workforce.

According to Amazon’s 2022 annual report, released late Thursday, the company had 1,541,000 full- and part-time employees as of Dec. 31, 2022. That’s down 67,000, or 4.2%, from the 1,608,000 employees Amazon had at the end of 2021.

That marked the first decline in its workforce since the dot-com bust. In 2001, Amazon cut staff by 13.3% to 7,800 employees, and in 2002 it cut by a further 3.9% to 7,500 employees.

Amazon’s stock tumbled 49.6% in 2022, the biggest yearly loss since the record 79.6% plunge in 2000.

While 67,000 jobs were lost in 2022, the company had increased its workforce by a total of 810,000 jobs in 2020 and 2021, for an overall gain of 101.5% from the 798,000 employees it had in prepandemic 2019.

Also read: Amazon’s second wave of layoffs hits thousands of employees across three states.

And don’t miss: U.S. unemployment rate falls to 3.4% — lowest level since 1969 — as economy creates 517,000 jobs in January.

Over the 19 straight years that Amazon increased its workforce, the average year-over-year increase was 33.9% (the median increase was 31.4%). The biggest increase was 66.8% in 2011, when Amazon had 56,200 employees, and the smallest increase was 4% in 2003, when there were 7,800 employees.

Last year was the first full year that Andrew Jassy has served as chief executive officer, having taken over the role from founder Jeff Bezos in July 2021. In the annual report for 2021, which was released last February, the company said it was striving to be “Earth’s best employer.”

The stock dropped 8.4% to $103.39 on Friday, after the company missed fourth-quarter profit expectations, reported a much wider-than-expected 2022 loss and warned of a first-quarter miss. The selloff, which was the biggest one-day decline since it tumbled 14.1% on April 29, 2022, comes after it ran up 12.3% over the past three days to close Thursday at a 3½-month high.

After its 2022 plunge, the stock has soared 23.1% to start 2023 through Friday, while the S&P 500 index has gained 7.7%.


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