Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Amazon announced Monday it's laying off several hundred corporate workers in western Washington, and others elsewhere, in a significant reorganization of the retail giant.
The company had been on a hiring spree at its Seattle-area headquarters, increasing staff from 5,000 to 40,000 by 2010. The layoffs are primarily focused on Amazon's consumer retail businesses, The Seattle Times reported.
Amazon is the second-largest U.S.-based corporate employer. It had 566,000 employees at the end of 2017 -- a 66 percent increase from the previous year -- due to the acquisition of Whole Foods.
"As part of our annual planning process, we are making headcount adjustments across the company -- small reductions in a couple of places and aggressive hiring in many others," the company said in an emailed statement. "For affected employees, we work to find roles in the areas where we are hiring."
Nearly 4,000 corporate jobs are open in Greater Seattle and 12,000 worldwide.
The cuts came at a time when Amazon is actively vetting cities in which to build a second headquarters, called HQ2, where it plans to create 50,000 jobs in the next 10 to 15 years. Last month, Amazon cut the candidate list from 238 to 20.
The corporate downsizing notwithstanding, Amazon said Monday it has more than 4,000 job listings posted in Seattle -- an increase of nearly a quarter from the multi-year low in January.
Amazon has been expanding its grocery, fashion and furniture business online, increasing its cloud-computing division and finding new uses for its voice-activated Alexa service.
The retail giant has also been cutting redundant positions by requiring managers who oversee other supervisors to have at least four people reporting to them.