Business briefing

The daily business briefing: November 15, 2022

Amazon plans to cut 10,000 employees, Google agrees to record $391.5 million privacy settlement, and more

1

Amazon to lay off 10,000 workers 

Amazon plans to lay off about 10,000 people within days, The New York Times reported Monday. The layoffs, which would be the online retail giant's biggest ever, will affect Amazon's corporate and technology staffs, including the devices division responsible for the company's voice-assistant Alexa. The number of job cuts could change. For now they would affect about three percent of Amazon's corporate workforce, and less than one percent of the 1.5 million people it employs globally, most of them hourly workers. The cuts, which follow layoffs by other big technology companies, are coming during the crucial holiday shopping season, when retailers usually need more workers.

2

Google to pay states $391.5 million in privacy settlement

Google on Monday agreed to a record $391.5 million privacy settlement with 40 states that sued over its location tracking. The agreement is the largest internet privacy settlement ever by U.S. states. Google has to better clarify its location tracking disclosures by 2023 under the deal. The attorneys general said Google continued to track many users who thought they had turned off the feature. "For years Google has prioritized profit over their users' privacy," Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in a release. "They have been crafty and deceptive." Google's policy communications manager José Castañeda said the settlement involved "outdated product policies that we changed years ago."

3

Biden says U.S., China should 'compete vigorously'

President Biden voiced U.S. opposition to China's "coercive and increasingly aggressive actions" during a Monday meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Biden's first in-person talks with Xi since taking office. Biden said after the meeting that the two countries should "compete vigorously, but I'm not looking for conflict." He added: "I absolutely believe there need not be a new Cold War" pitting the United States against China. The meeting during the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia came weeks after the Biden administration blocked exports of advanced computer chips to China. Xi warned: "Starting a trade war or a technology war ... and pushing for decoupling and severing supply chains run counter to the principles of market economy and undermine international trade rules."

4

Stock futures rise after snapping 2-day winning streak

U.S. stock futures rose early Tuesday after Wall Street snapped a two-day winning streak that started with a cooler-than-expected inflation report. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up 0.3 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively, at 6:30 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were up 1.2 percent. Stocks had a volatile day on Monday after conflicting comments from Federal Reserve leaders about when the central bank will stop raising interest rates to fight inflation. With inflation still above seven percent, the Fed's two-percent target is still far off. "That's why Fed governors have been lining up to talk down any market euphoria that a real pivot is in sight," wrote Christopher Smart, chief global strategist at Barings.

5

48,000 academic workers on strike at University of California campuses

About 48,000 unionized academic workers went on strike at the University of California's 10 campuses on Monday, demanding higher pay and better benefits. The teaching assistants, postdoctoral scholars, graduate student researchers, tutors, and fellows do much of the schools' teaching and research. Union leaders said the strike was the largest ever at an academic institution. It also is the biggest strike in the United States this year. The work stoppage was scheduled to continue on Tuesday. UC officials called for the union to continue negotiations. "At this time, we believe that the best path to an agreement is with the aid of a third-party mediator," Ryan King, a UC spokesperson, said in a statement.

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