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Amazon, Citigroup, Xerox, Google and BlackRock See Layoffs in Efficiency Push

laid-off employee leaving office with box

In the first two weeks of the new year, several prominent companies, including Amazon, Citigroup, Xerox, Google and BlackRock, have announced plans to cut jobs, signaling a continued push for efficiency and cost reduction.

Despite improving economic conditions and a strong labor market, these companies are looking to trim their workforces and streamline operations, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Friday (Jan. 12).

The continuation of layoff news into 2024 highlights American corporations’ drive for efficiency, according to the report. Executives have stressed the need for companies to be smaller and have said that their organizations are still larger than necessary given the size of their businesses.

For example, when confirming Google’s jobs cuts on Wednesday (Jan. 10), a company spokesperson told Reuters that many of its teams made changes in the second half of 2023 to become more efficient and realign their resources.

“Some teams are continuing to make these kinds of organizational changes, which include some role eliminations globally,” the Google spokesperson said, per the report.

The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) is also playing a role in the job cuts, the WSJ report said. AI technology can perform tasks traditionally handled by white-collar workers, leading companies to divert resources toward its development. As companies invest in AI, they look for efficiencies elsewhere within their organizations.

Some companies are reevaluating their workforce size following hiring sprees during the pandemic, per the report. While the labor market remains strong, companies are determining that their organizations may have become bloated.

This has led to layoffs as companies seek to right-size their workforce and eliminate redundancies, according to the report.

For example, in a Wednesday note to Amazon employees notifying them of layoffs, Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios, said that the organization had “identified opportunities to reduce or discontinue investments in certain areas while increasing our investment and focus on content and product initiatives that deliver the most impact.”

Although the labor market is still producing jobs at a faster pace than before the pandemic, there are signs of a cooling job market, the WSJ report said. The Federal Reserve’s interest rate increases have raised borrowing costs, prompting businesses to scale back expansion plans.

Additionally, increased labor costs are becoming harder to pass on to consumers, leading some companies to trim their workforce as a cost-cutting measure, per the report.