Sep 14 P

Amazon.com, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) said Monday it will hire 100,000 full and part-time logistics and fulfillment workers in North America as it continues to manage sizable delivery growth and gears up for what is expected to be an unprecedented peak holiday shipping season.

The Seattle-based company did not specify how many of these new hires, if any, would be seasonal workers brought in to manage peak-season activity. Amazon said that hiring for the positions has already begun in the U.S. and Canada. The minimum starting wage is $15 an hour, and in some markets, the company said it is offering up to $1,000 in sign-on-bonuses.

Amazon said it will open 100 buildings this month across its fulfillment, sortation, and delivery network. Executives said on the company’s last earnings call that it will increase capacity by 50% by the start of the peak season to effectively manage the demand spikes. So far this year, Amazon has opened more than 75 fulfillment, sortation centers, regional air hubs, and delivery stations in the U.S. and Canada.

Pay for qualified warehouse and fulfillment labor is expected to rise briskly this holiday season as businesses scramble to fill positions in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the spike in e-commerce volumes as holiday buying converges with elevated ordering activity from consumers still wary about returning to in-store buying. At the start of 2020, ProLogistix, a prominent warehouse staffing firm, had forecast hourly holiday wages to average $15.50 an hour. Post-COVID, that figure has since been revised upward to $19 an hour. Several experts said hourly wages could rise to $20 an hour or more in some markets. 

Peak-season labor supply may be constrained by extraordinary factors that are related to the pandemic. Prospective employees may be bringing in more money from enhanced federal unemployment compensation, on top of their state benefits, than they would be working. Fragmented and erratic school schedules caused by government measures to control the pandemic’s spread may make it difficult for parents to fully commit to warehouse timetables. Prospective workers may be concerned about contracting the virus in a warehouse. In addition, they may be reluctant to work in facilities at or near areas of racial unrest.