retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Amazon announced today that in addition to the 33,000 corporate and technology positions for which it now is hiring, it also plans to hire 100,000 "regular" employees in the United States and Canada.  Those employees will work in the some 100 buildings that Amazon plans to open this month alone, which include fulfillment and sortation centers, and delivery stations.

Amazon said that "the roles offer a starting wage of at least $15 per hour, and in select cities Amazon is offering sign-on bonuses up to $1,000 to new hires. On top of Amazon’s minimum $15 wage, the company offers full-time employees industry-leading benefits, which include health, vision and dental insurance from day one, 401(k) with 50 percent company match, up to 20 weeks paid parental leave and Amazon’s innovative Career Choice program, which pre-pays 95% of tuition for courses in high-demand fields."

The Wall Street Journal offers the following perspective:

"Amazon experienced a wave of orders this year after coronavirus restrictions pushed millions more people toward online shopping. The company added 175,000 warehouse workers in March and April, 125,000 of whom Amazon said in May it would keep permanently … Including temporary workers that the company describes as seasonal, Amazon has more than one million employees world-wide. Its total head count in the U.S. without seasonal employees exceeds 600,000, with more than 100,000 of those in the corporate ranks."

KC's View:

Think of those people as soldiers in Amazon's battle against Walmart, and the buildings as just the beginning of the effort to fortify the front lines.  

Adding 100,000 people to the US non-corporate ranks is like increasing your head count by 20 percent, if my (often questionable) math is correct.  (The Canada portion throws the numbers off a bit, but you get my point.)

That's a lot of people.  It is roughly 15 percent of the total number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week.

Yikes.