After opening about 250 warehouses in the U.S. this year, Amazon will open another 100 this month, bringing distribution even closer to every American home, and adding another 125,000 blue-collar workers, the company announced.
The company will entice new workers in a tight labor market by raising the average wage in its merchandise caverns to $18.32 an hour, it said. It bumped hourly pay by as much as $3 an hour in April for more than 500,000 employees.
To keep up with consumers’ migration to online shopping during the COVID era, the retail giant has grown its workforce by two-thirds since the end of 2019 and numbered 1.34 million employees on its June payroll.
It employs 950,000 in the U.S., 750,000 of which work in its 930 warehouses across the country.
Amazon’s latest expansion comes as businesses, including Amazon, begin to staff up for the winter holiday shopping season, when the labor market traditionally tightens.
In June, the number of open U.S. jobs reached 10.1 million, the most since records began to be kept in 2000, and exceeding the 9.5 million people out of work, labor department figures showed.
To lure workers away from other opportunities, Amazon adjusts its official starting hourly wage of $15 to meet local competitive factors and stresses that its health care and other benefits add about $3.50 an hour to an employee’s total compensation, Amazon senior vice president John Felton told The Wall Street Journal.
In some areas, Amazon is offering to pay employees’ cost of tuition and books for those working toward a college degree. It also is paying signing bonuses of $1,000 to $3,000 in some places and offers a $100 gift to new hires who have proof of a COVID vaccination.
Earlier this month, Walmart raised its minimum wage to $12 an hour and also offers to pay for college tuition and related costs for some workers.
TRENDPOST: Amazon’s relentless expansion—building distribution centers closer and closer to every home and swallowing more and more of the workforce and putting small business retailers out of business—will continue unless there are strong political movements to reinstate anti-trust Acts.
The trend for increasing amounts of general merchandise, from diapers to furniture to be bought primarily online will continue, especially as new tech-addicted generations gravitate to the “cloud” rather than brick-and-mortar retail.
However, there will still be a strong market for conventional stores, especially for last-minute or “top-up” purchases, and in-person shopping for specialty and high quality items that require human taste, touch and smell.