Amazon.com, which has already more than tripled its workforce over the past three years, says it will add another 5,000 full-time jobs at its U.S. distribution facilities — a 25 percent increase beyond its existing 20,000 fulfillment center employees in the country.
The news comes two days in advance of President Obama’s scheduled visit to the company’s Chattanooga, Tenn., fulfillment center. Obama is slated to talk about the economy, manufacturing and high-wage jobs during a Tuesday visit to the facility.
Amazon says the 5,000 new fulfillment center jobs are designed to “meet growing customer demand.” Amazon didn’t give a time frame for filling all of the new positions, but said “hiring starts now.”
The company, which has faced past scrutiny over its warehouse working conditions, says median pay at its fulfillment centers is 30 percent higher than in traditional retail jobs. Full-time workers also receive stock grants, which have added an average of 9% a year to base pay, the company says.
The new jobs are in 17 fulfillment centers, in states including Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee — including the Chattanooga facility to be visited by Obama this week.
Amazon says it’s also hiring for 2,000 customer service jobs in the U.S., in North Dakota, West Virginia, Washington and Kentucky.
Obama and Amazon support the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would clear the way for a more uniform national policy on Internet sales tax. Tennessee Campaign for Liberty is planning to use the visit to protest Obama for his support of the act.
Amazon, known for its razor-thin profit margins, last week posted a $7 million quarterly loss as it continues to expand its workforce and its business. The company’s direct workforce is now 97,000, up from fewer than 30,000 three years ago.
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