Amazon.com revealed plans to hire more than 100,000 people in the U.S. in the next 18 months, grabbing the spotlight as President-elect Donald Trump pushes companies to employ more Americans.
The staffing-up isn’t particularly surprising for a company moving into multiple categories from groceries, hardware and video to fashion and cloud services. But the move could appease Trump, who tangled with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos during the election campaign.
“It’s a very powerful headline, and the timing certainly makes Trump look good,” said Ivan Feinseth, an analyst at Tigress Financial Partners. “It’s going to happen in the first year and half of his administration. Bezos couldn’t have set him up any better to look good — timing is everything.”
Bezos was among a group of leading technology industry executives who met with Trump last month in Manhattan to discuss points of concern. Jobs, immigration and China topped the agenda. Since then, several companies, from IBM to Ford and Alibaba, have publicly announced hiring sprees, though some of them were re-polishing previously announced intentions. In a call with reporters on Thursday, Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer said his boss was happy to play a part in Amazon’s decision.
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Feinseth said Amazon’s hiring pledge goes beyond political optics. “You have a good company hiring people in an area where a lot of tech companies tend to be outsourcing people,” he said. “So it’s very positive, political or not. It’s still 100,000 more people in the U.S.”
Still, Amazon’s move could do less to help the U.S. economy than is immediately apparent. Research groups have argued that the company kills more jobs than it creates because it has disrupted the traditional retail industry.
Over the past five years, Amazon says, it has created more than 150,000 jobs in the U.S., growing its workforce in the country to 180,000 at the end of last year. Amazon has become a major employer in North Texas in recent years, with about 7,000 employees working at fulfillment centers in Haslet, Fort Worth, Coppell and Dallas. It also launched its Fresh grocery delivery business in North Texas in the fall, which has a warehouse in Fort Worth near Meacham Airport.
Amazon’s new positions “are for people all across the country and with all types of experience, education and skill levels — from engineers and software developers to those seeking entry-level positions and on-the-job training,” the Seattle-based company said. In addition to fulfillment center positions, new hires will work on cloud technology, machine learning and advanced logistics.