Amazon has pledged to increase its U.S. headcount over the next 18 months to 280,000 employees, an increase of around 55 percent.
The ecommerce titan has said that these will be “full-time, full-benefit” positions, located across the U.S. This move continues the company’s aggressive expansion over the past decade. Indeed, Amazon counted “just” 30,000 U.S. employees in 2011, a figure that had jumped to 180,000 by the end of 2016.
The positions span the full spectrum of roles, from entry-level warehousing positions to software engineers. However, the company does stress that “many” of the positions will be to staff its new fulfillment centers that are currently being built in California, Texas, Florida, and elsewhere.
Crucially here, the company is keen to sell itself as a nationwide employer, rather than one that’s centered around its headquarters.
“These jobs are not just in our Seattle headquarters or in Silicon Valley — they’re in our customer service network, fulfillment centers, and other facilities in local communities throughout the country,” said Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. “We plan to add another 100,000 new Amazonians across the company over the next 18 months as we open new fulfillment centers, and continue to invent in areas like cloud technology, machine learning, and advanced logistics.”
The timing of this announcement is notable, as it comes just days before Donald Trump is due to take over as president of the U.S. Indeed, in the buildup to his inauguration, Trump has touted plans to boost the U.S. workforce with millions of new jobs. After a meeting with the president-elect, Jack Ma, head honcho at Chinese tech titan Alibaba, promised to create a million jobs in the U.S. over five years. This came shortly after SoftBank pledged to create 50,000 jobs.
While Amazon was going to create these new positions regardless of who the next U.S. president was going to be, it’s telling that the company chose to make this announcement just as Trump is about to enter the White House.
Bezos and Trump have never seen eye to eye, but Amazon is one of the biggest employers in the U.S., and the company wants the incoming president — and the country, as a whole — to remember that.