Amazon to Hire 100,000 Workers as E-Commerce Surges During Pandemic
Amazon.com said yesterday that it will hire another 100,000 workers to meet surging demand in the COVID-19 era, bolstering an already dramatic expansion of its workforce in 2020 and underscoring the massive shifts in online spending the pandemic has helped fuel. The latest hiring drive, which includes full- and part-time jobs, is the fourth largest campaign the Seattle-based retail giant has initiated this year. All told, they add up to 308,000 positions. By comparison, Amazon said it employed 798,000 Americans total at the end of 2019. The retailer is bracing for some portion of employees to be out sick from COVID-19 and other illnesses, as well as preparing for a potential blowout holiday season.
Total Retail's Take: Amazon has benefited from consumers being quarantined in their homes for long stretches of time during the pandemic, with e-commerce being their only shopping option in many cases. The country's online retail leader has strengthened its business in 2020, reporting in its most recent earnings report that net sales jumped 40 percent, to $88.9 billion from $63.4 billion in the year-ago period. With the surge in demand from the coronavirus, driven by consumers' reluctance to shop in brick-and-mortar stores, and the Q4 holiday season rapidly approaching, Amazon is looking to strengthen its workforce for the anticipated rush. According to Deloitte, holiday sales are forecast for a 1 percent to 1.5 percent year-over-year increase, and e-commerce sales are expected to climb 25 percent to 35 percent.
What will be interesting to see is how many of these newly hired workers remain with Amazon as we move into 2021 — i.e., post-holiday season and hopefully closer to having a vaccine for COVID-19. With the growth of e-commerce projected to carry on well past the pandemic, it's likely this is just the start of companies like Amazon investing in workers to help them pick, pack and ship increased volumes of online orders.