Amazon US to hire 100,000 workers amidst coronavirus worries

Online giant sees orders surge and will up its hourly pay rate to attract staff


Amazon is to hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the US to deal with the increase in online orders, as consumers turn to the internet to meet their needs during the coronavirus outbreak.

Like Amazon, US supermarket chains Albertsons, Kroger and Raley’s have also sought new hires to staff busy sections and meet online orders. They are turning to people in the restaurant, travel and entertainment businesses who are suddenly looking for work because of the coronavirus.

"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," Amazon said.

Major shipper United Parcel Service said its trucking and air deliveries were still continuing despite growing government restrictions on commercial activities. It said it was meeting demand with its existing workforce.

The coronavirus, which has led to more than 7,100 deaths globally, has also led to items being out of stock on Amazon and some deliveries taking longer than usual.

Amazon’s headcount changes seasonally, recently peaking for the holiday quarter at 798,000 full and part-time workers. It was not immediately clear how many people Amazon would employ after it hires 100,000 more.

To draw new employees, Amazon said it would add $2 to its minimum $15 per hour to US workers’ wages through April. The extra pay for hourly employees in North America and Europe is expected to cost more than $350 million, Amazon said.

At the same time UK fashion and homewares shop Laura Ashley is set to become the first retail casualty of the coronavirus crisis, placing 2,700 jobs at risk.

The company blamed its troubles on a "significant" drop-off in trade with no end to the coronavirus crisis in sight.

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