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March 16, 2020 5:15 PM, EDT

Amazon to Hire 100,000 to Help Meet Coronavirus-Related Order Spike

An Amazon fulfillment center in New JerseyEmployees pull carts containing online orders at the Amazon.com fulfillment center in Robbinsville, N.J. (Bess Adler/Bloomberg News)

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Amazon will hire 100,000 additional warehouse employees across the country and raise the pay of current hourly workers by $2 per hour through April, the online retail giant announced March 16.

The Seattle-based company is making the move because of what it said is a significant increase in demand for products it sells because of the coronavirus.

“Many people have been economically impacted as jobs in areas like hospitality, restaurants, and travel are lost or furloughed as part of this crisis. We want those people to know we welcome them on our teams until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back,” Amazon Senior Vice President of Operations Dave Clark said in a statement to Transport Topics.

Dave Clark

Clark

“Getting a priority item to your doorstep is vital as communities practice social distancing, particularly for the elderly and others with underlying health issues," the statement continued. "We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year.”

Amazon said the job openings will be for a mix of full- and part-time positions, and some include delivery drivers and warehouse workers who pack and ship orders.

The company said the pay raises it is extending to its current employees are in recognition for the long hours they have been putting in because of the increased demand for products.

“This commitment to increased pay through the end of April represents an investment of over $350 million in increased compensation for hourly employees across the U.S., Europe and Canada,” Clark said.

Over the weekend, Amazon said customers may see some delivery delays, and some items could be out of stock as the impact from the coronavirus spreads across the country. The company said a surge in demand for products being purchased online is having an effect on how it serves its customers.

“As COVID-19 has spread, we’ve recently seen an increase in people shopping online,” the company said on its website. “In the short term, this is having an impact on how we serve our customers. In particular, you will notice that we are currently out of stock on some popular brands and items, especially in household staples categories.”

Amazon pays all of its employees a minimum of $15 dollars an hour.

Amazon is now the second-largest U.S.-based employer behind Walmart, with nearly 800,000 workers worldwide.

Across the country, grocery stores have been flooded with millions of consumers buying supplies and other items, anticipating they may be staying in their homes for weeks — or longer — because of the threat of the virus.

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