High-flying Amazon has layoffs but keeps hiring

The Amazon Spheres are shown in downtown Seattle on the day of their grand opening, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

SEATTLE -- Amazon is laying off hundreds of employees in Seattle and elsewhere.

The company, which announced a 31 percent increase in annual net sales earlier this month, is offering jobs to affected employees elsewhere in the company. At the same time, Amazon continues to hire new employees.

“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. For affected employees, we work to find roles in the areas where we are hiring," the company said in a statement.

The number of affected employees is supposed to be in the low hundreds.

The Seattle Times reports that the layoffs center on the consumer retail business. GeekWire pegged the number of affected employees at 500.

Amazon has about 40,000 employees in Seattle and currently about 560,000 employees worldwide. It has 3,900 open jobs in Seattle, and 12,000 worldwide.

Amazon's headcount grew rapidly last year, up 66 percent from 2016. Some was because of its acquisition of Whole Foods and its 89,000 jobs, but Amazon also says it hired 130,000 people last year.

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