Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is planning to hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the United States to meet surging online demand, as fears over a wider spread of the coronavirus outbreak among consumers grow.
“We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year”, the U.S. online retailer said in a blog post. “Many people have been economically impacted as jobs in areas like hospitality, restaurants, and travel are lost as part of this crisis. We want those people to know we welcome them on our teams until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back.”
The retailer said it will invest over $350 million globally to increase pay by $2 per hour in the U.S. from the current rate of about $15, £2 per hour in the UK, and about €2 per hour in many European countries for employees and partners who are in warehouse centers, transportation operations, and stores. The rise in hourly pay rates for employees across the U.S., Canada, and Europe will be applied through April, the company said.
Wall Street analysts have a positive outlook on Amazon, rating the online giant with a strong buy and an average price target of $2,430.54. The company’s shares fell 5.4 percent in U.S. trading closing at $1,689.15.
Amazon’s hiring need comes as U.S. President Donald Trump warned late on Monday that the coronavirus pandemic could last until the end of the summer or even longer. Trump urged Americans to stay home, avoid bars, restaurants, food courts, and gyms, and not gather in groups of more than 10 people in the next 15 days.
Global retail chains including sports retailer Nike, Inc (NKE) have been forced to close their stores as governments around the world take draconic measures of shutting schools and offices to help mitigate the speed of the spread of the virus. U.S. retail giant Walmart Inc. (WMT) this week started to reduce store hours to cope with huge sales demand. This will help ensure associates are “able to stock the products our customers are looking for and to perform cleaning and sanitizing,” Dacona Smith, Walmart’s Chief Operating Officer said.