Amazon boosts starting hourly wage to $18 amid hiring rush

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Amazon is hiring 125,000 warehouse workers, some of whom will earn up to $22.50 an hour, the company said on Tuesday.

As the race to hire warehouse workers intensifies in preparation for the holiday season, Amazon has hiked its average starting wage for fulfillment and transportation workers, who will now earn more than $18 an hour, Amazon said, up from about $15 an hour. 

In some of the tightest labor markets, which tend to be urban areas, the e-commerce giant is paying up to $22.50 an hour and is also dangling $3,000 sign-on bonuses, the company said.

Amazon is also opening more than 100 fulfillment centers and regional delivery stations in September after opening more than 250 of these facilities in last year alone.

The company did not immediately disclose the locations of those facilities, including whether any will be in the New York area.

The hiring binge comes as most retailers, including Walmart, Target, Home Depot and Macy’s, typically announce their plans to add seasonal workers, but this year many large companies are opting to hire full-time instead of temporary employees, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

An Amazon warehouse worker taking an object off of a shelf.
Amazon needs 125,000 more warehouse workers.
Ralph Freso/REUTERS

“With just a few short weeks from the start of the holiday shopping season, retailers are announcing permanent hiring plans rather than seasonal ones,” Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of the firm said in a statement on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Walmart announced plans to hire 20,000 logistics workers, but has yet to announce seasonal holiday hiring plans, Challenger pointed out. 

Last week Walmart also boosted its store associates’ hourly wage by $1 an hour, which amounts to an average hourly rate of $16.40, the company said.

Two Amazon workers moving boxes wheels.
Amazon raised its average hourly pay for transportation and fulfillment workers to $18.
Ross D. Franklin/AP
A female Amzon worker reaching up to get pull out a storage drawer.
Amazon has recently offered to pay for college tuition for its hourly workers.
Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

So far this year, US companies have announced just 190,000 seasonal hiring jobs, which is down from 301,700 this time last year, according to the outplacement firm. 

Many companies are also sweetening their benefit packages, including Amazon and Walmart, which announced programs to cover college tuition at certain universities.



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