(TNS) — Amazon announced plans Monday to hire more than 4,000 workers in metro Atlanta, increasing its workforce in Georgia by nearly half, part of a rising tide of jobs among online, logistics and shipping companies.
The local hiring spurt by the e-commerce giant — part of 100,000 new positions it plans to fill nationally — is a welcome injection into a Georgia economy that has lost hundreds of thousands of jobs since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and is struggling to regain its footing.
It also underscores one part of the U.S. economy that is humming: shipping packages to homes as health fears about COVID-19 accelerate the migration of consumers from brick-and-mortar stores to online purchases.
The 4,000 new jobs include 1,000 previously announced positions at a newly built distribution center in Stone Mountain. Amazon currently has more than 10,500 workers in Georgia.
Hiring has already begun for the jobs, which are primarily in shipping, distribution and other logistics, with pay starting at $15 an hour, according to the Seattle-based company.
Amazon’s expansion here is being accompanied by other delivery and logistics companies that are staffing up ahead of the holiday season, when a flood of packages typically flows from suppliers to American households.
UPS, the huge delivery company based in Sandy Springs, last week announced plans to add more than 100,000 seasonal workers globally for this holiday season, including 7,000 in Georgia, most of them in metro Atlanta.
But Amazon said its new jobs are not seasonal additions, a sign of how much e-commerce in general has surged. That’s at least partly because of consumers either stuck at home or anxious to avoid in-person shopping during the pandemic.
With interstate highways, two of the nation’s busiest seaports and Hartsfield-Jackson, long the world’s busiest airport, Georgia has long been a hub for distributing goods through the Southeast and that value only increased with the spread of COVID-19.
Retail stores like Kroger, Publix, Walmart and Target initiated or ramped up online ordering and delivery services for the items they carry. But much of the growth has been in the companies that have historically been in the business of delivery, with the notable exception of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, which has seen a sharp drop in passenger traffic.
Metro Atlanta had more than 271,000 transportation and warehousing jobs, according to a government report last year. The region ranked sixth nationally among metro areas for transportation and warehousing work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
DHL eCommerce Solutions recently announced a deal to open its first fully-owned U.S. distribution center, a facility in Mableton. In Atlanta, DHL eCommerce is hiring workers to fill 225 part- and full-time openings this year, according to a spokeswoman for the company, a division of Germany’s Deutsche Post DHL Group.
Memphis-based FedEx, UPS’s chief shipping rival, with more than a half-million employees, expects to add more than 70,000 positions nationally during the next few months, according to a company statement Monday. FedEx employs almost 12,000 workers in Georgia.
The United States Postal Service, with nearly 500,000 workers, hasn’t decided yet whether it will hire more staff this fall, a spokeswoman said. In addition to delivering holiday gifts through the mail, the USPS is expected to see a sharp rise in mail-in ballots in the Nov. 3 presidential elections as more voters try to avoid long lines amid the pandemic.
Dave Clark, a senior vice president at Amazon, said safety for workers will be a priority with COVID-19 still spreading. Full-time workers will also receive health, vision and dental insurance, as well as up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave, he said in a statement. The company did not say how many of the new jobs would be full-time.
Among the company’s locations in Georgia, Amazon has seven distribution warehouses, a technology hub and a dozen Whole Foods Markets.
©2020 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Looking for the latest gov tech news as it happens? Subscribe to GT newsletters.