Amazon goes on hiring spree as working conditions under scrutiny
New York (CNN Business)Amazon hired 175,000 temporary employees during the pandemic to keep up with unprecedented demand. With no sign of letup, Amazon has decided to keep about 70% of them — permanently.
The company has been on a hiring spree since March, when government leaders across the US began issuing shelter-in-place mandates to stem the spread of Covid-19.
On Thursday, Amazon (AMZN) said it will offer full-time roles that pay at least $15 per hour and offer a “comprehensive benefits package” to 125,000 of the temporary employees it began hiring after experiencing a surge in business caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a post on the company’s blog site.
The temporary employees who accept offers to become full-time workers will begin their new roles in June, Amazon said.
“We hope the option for so many people to stay on long-term at Amazon will help alleviate some of the ongoing burden of unemployment in communities across the U.S. as we all work together to fight through this crisis,” the company wrote on its blog.
The company’s hiring spree is a rare bright spot in an otherwise awful jobs market. Another 2.1 million people filed initial jobless claims last week, the Department of Labor reported Thursday, bringing the total number of unemployed Americans to 40 million.
America had never recorded a single week of 1 million jobless claims prior to the coronavirus crisis.
Amazon is among a handful of companies whose businesses have benefited from the coronavirus outbreak and related public space shutdowns, which have forced millions to shelter in place and do most of their shopping online.
The company’s stock price hit a record high last week. Its sales performance this year has increased Jeff Bezos’ wealth by $25 billion since January 1.
Walmart (WMT), Target (CBDY) and Costco (COST) have also seen consumer gains during the pandemic. Business for most other retail companies has suffered severely largely due to the closures of brick and mortar stores, which has led to bankruptcies for such major chains as Neiman Marcus and JCPenney (JCP).
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