Amazon to add 75,000 more jobs as online orders surge during coronavirus lockdowns

SPH Brightcove Video
Amazon will begin on Monday to put new grocery delivery customers on a wait list and curtail shopping hours at some Whole Foods stores to prioritise orders from existing customers buying food online, the company said.
An Amazon deliveryman passes by New York's Times Square on March 17, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

SEATTLE (REUTERS) - Amazon said on Monday (April 13) it plans to hire 75,000 more people for jobs ranging from warehouse staff to delivery drivers as the coronavirus epidemic kept Americans locked in their homes and demand for online orders surged.

With shoppers clearing out shelves in fear of quarantines or product shortages, retailers are racing to keep food and hygienic items in stock and have employees on hand for in-store work or delivery.

The e-commerce giant faces the daunting task of hiring more people even as calls grow for it to shut facilities.

The company, which has reported virus cases among warehouse staff and faced several demonstrations, said it would roll out temperature checks and face masks for staff at all of its US and European warehouses.

Some elected officials have called on the company to close warehouses.

But with unemployment rates hitting record levels, Amazon is looking to fill the gap. To draw new employees, the company had said it would add US$2 (S$2.83) to its minimum US$15 per hour to US workers' wages through April.

The company said on Monday (April 13) it had filled all of the 100,000 positions it advertised earlier, and the new jobs are in addition to that.

Amazon said it expects to spend more than US$500 million globally to increase wages for workers during the pandemic, up from a previous estimate of US$350 million.

"We know many people have been economically impacted as jobs in areas like hospitality, restaurants and travel are lost or furloughed as part of this crisis and we welcome anyone out of work to join us at Amazon until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back," the company said in a blog post.

Amazon's headcount fluctuates seasonally, recently peaking for the holiday quarter at 798,000 full and part-time workers, before it advertised the 100,000 jobs following the pandemic.

Some unions and elected officials have criticized Amazon's response to the outbreak, which that has infected more than 1.8 million people globally and led to more than 115,000 deaths.

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.