Amazon has sharply curtailed hiring in Seattle as it seeks second headquarters

  • Amazon has the lowest number of open positions in Seattle since 2014, according to Seattle Times.
  • The company is also rumored to have put a hiring freeze in place, according to two people familiar with the matter.
  • The change is happening as Amazon seeks the location of its second headquarters outside of Seattle.

Amazon has significantly cut the number of open positions in Seattle, and some employees are talking about a hiring freeze, according to the Seattle Times and two employees who spoke to CNBC.

As of last week, Amazon had 3,503 open positions in Seattle, just a fraction of the over 9,000 job openings it had in June and the lowest since 2014, the report said. That would also make the August to November period the slowest hiring four-month period for Amazon in King County, it said.

On top of that, several employees told the Seattle Times about hiring freezes or postponements in their groups, the first sign of a slowdown in Amazon's rapid expansion over the past few years.

Separately, two current Amazon employees told CNBC they had heard no new positions will be added in the Seattle area until early next year. The company has previously said it expects to announce the winning city for its second headquarters in 2018. One of these people said their manager shared the news, the other characterized it as a widespread rumor in the company.

The change in Amazon hiring plan comes as the e-commerce giant seeks the location of its second headquarters. Amazon has drawn 238 bids from 54 different regions across North America for the second headquarters, which the company said will get over $5 billion in investment and employ over 50,000 people.

It's unclear what exactly is driving the cutback. But Amazon told the Seattle Times there's no company-wide mandate for a hiring freeze. An Amazon representative told CNBC that the company normally sees seasonal fluctuations in job openings and that it will continue to hire across the company.

"Amazon employs over 500,000 people worldwide, and we're continuing to hire for thousands of open jobs across the company. We are constantly evaluating hiring needs to ensure we're dedicating resources efficiently and effectively, so it's common for there to be fluctuations in headcount as we grow at different rates across businesses," Amazon said in a statement.

You can read the full Seattle Times report here.

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