Amazon reported on Monday afternoon that it is seeking to hire as many as 100,000 people across the United States in an effort to keep up with the massive demand it’s experienced in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak over the last week.
The company previously warned its customers that it may face delivery delays or shortages on certain items due to supply chain issues. Things like toilet paper and essential home items have been sold out on the online retail platform for days, with resellers hiking prices up on things like hand sanitizer and other items that have been hard to find.
Consumers have been rushing to stores in recent days to purchase anything from paper products to a seemingly lifetime supply of milk. Lines at stores like Costco, Kroger, Publix, and Whole Foods have created panic as people rush to stock up on products they think may be hard to find in the immediate future. Even Charmin’s website was out of stock last week.
Amazon also said that it will raise its minimum pay to $17/hour beginning in April in an effort to help workers feel more secure in the coming economic crisis. Workers around the country are facing the reality that they may not be able to pay their bills if their employer shuts down operations in the coming weeks.
“We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year,’ said the senior vice president of worldwide operations, Dave Clark, in a blog post on Monday afternoon.
“We are opening 100,000 new full and part-time positions across the U.S. in our fulfillment centers and delivery network to meet the surge in demand from people relying on Amazon’s service during this stressful time, particularly those most vulnerable to being out in public,” he continued.
Other companies are stepping up to offer more positions as the demand has become out of control. Companies like Kroger also announced a surge in open positions on Monday, citing the coronavirus outbreak as the reason for more demand. The company noted specifically that it could place people in a working position within days of applying, speeding up the time between receiving the application and the time it takes to begin working.
These new job openings at Amazon and Kroger represent a major shift in the employment opportunities available in the United States as more and more businesses are shutting down to avoid the spread of the virus. In the entertainment industry, workers are facing the harsh reality that they may not receive a paycheck for months if the virus cannot slow down its spread.