Amazon announces U.S. hiring spree as labor market tightens

Amazon.com Inc. has some job openings. Lots of them.

The Seattle e-commerce giant said Wednesday that it's looking to fill more than 50,000 positions across the United States. The announcement comes at a time when the labor market is growing tight with back-to-school and holiday shopping around the corner. Others will be competing for many of those potential hires.

Amazon will open the doors to job seekers Aug. 2 — next Wednesday — at 10 of its warehouses. The majority of jobs will be full time. More than 10,000 part-time jobs also will be available at sorting centers, along with some supporting and managerial positions.

Amazon said in January that it wanted to hire 100,000 full-time workers over the next 18 months. Since that time, it has steadily announced jobs, including plans to add 900 workers in Boston and 1,600 in Michigan.

Although the nation's unemployment rate is 4.4%, near a 16-year low, the average hourly pay rose just 2.5% in the last year. The last time unemployment was this low, wages were rising at roughly a 4% rate.

Wage increases have been slow in coming, however, something that is being watched closely by U.S. monetary policymakers.

Amazon said its jobs offer “highly competitive” pay, along with health insurance, disability insurance, retirement savings plans and company stock. Other benefits include up to 20 weeks of paid maternity leave and programs such as Ramp Back, which give new mothers more control over the pace at which they return to work.

Amazon's growth has been phenomenal, with sales almost doubling in a three-year span, and now it is seeking to grow outside its core. It recently announced a $13.7-billion deal to buy organic grocer Whole Foods. It added Sears' Kenmore products to its website, and it's rolling out its own ready-to-eat meal packages, competing with companies such as Blue Apron.

The warehouses that will welcome job seekers Wednesday are in Baltimore; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Etna, Ohio; Fall River, Mass.; Hebron, Ky.; Kenosha, Wis.; Kent, Wash.; Robbinsville, N.J.; Romeoville, Ill.; and Whitestown, Ind.

Applicants for part-time jobs also will be welcomed that day at sites in Buffalo, N.Y., and Oklahoma City.

Amazon shares rose 1.2% on Wednesday to $1,052.80.

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UPDATES:

2:20 p.m.: This article was updated with Amazon’s stock movement.

This article was originally published at 9:55 a.m.

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