Amazon Goes On Hiring Spree To Staff New Facilities

Amazon is about to go on a hiring spree. The online retailer plans to hire 5,000 workers to staff new warehouses it is building in order to reduce delivery times.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Tomorrow, President Obama visits and Amazon distribution center in Chattanooga. He'll be talking about job creation. That may help explain the timing of an announcement today from Amazon. It's going on a hiring spree, looking for 5,000 new full-time employees for its U.S. distribution centers. NPR's Wendy Kaufman has more on Amazon's plans to grow.

WENDY KAUFMAN, BYLINE: Amazon currently employs about 20,000 workers in its distribution centers, so 5,000 new jobs represents a sizable increase in the company's frontline workforce. After nearly two decades of selling merchandise largely tax free, Amazon knows that consumers want to get their merchandise fast. And to do that, Amazon has to build facilities practically everywhere, even if that means paying sales tax.

The newest jobs are in places like Chattanooga, Phoenix, Indianapolis and Hebron, Kentucky. Average pay for these kinds of jobs, according the company's website, is $12.88 an hour. Here's Amazon's Mary Osako.

MARY OSAKO: These are full time jobs that include comprehensive benefits on day one, including healthcare, 401(k) and company stock awards, which over the past five years have added an average of 9 percent to base pay annually.

KAUFMAN: In addition to the 5,000 new distribution center jobs, Amazon is adding 2,000 new customer service positions, but most will be part-time and seasonal.

COLIN SEBASTIAN: They are big numbers.

KAUFMAN: And, says Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Robert Baird and Company...

SEBASTIAN: This is an optimistic sign by Amazon that they expect to continue to do very well.

KAUFMAN: Amazon continues to take sales away from other retailers. But economist Ken Goldstein of the Conference Board says the new hiring also reflects a bigger and encouraging trend.

KEN GOLDSTEIN: What's really positive is while this is Amazon's announcement, they're not the only ones making these kinds of plans. That's the real import of all of this.

KAUFMAN: He notes that over the last few months, the number of jobs in retail has been growing, a signal that retailers are confident consumer spending is about to pick up. Wendy Kaufman, NPR News.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: