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Amazon Hiring 5,000 Seasonal Workers in the Garden State

Internet-based Retailer Prepares for Busy Time of the Year
Amazon.com, which is hiring 5,000 for the holiday peak, is expanding rapidly and also leased a fleet of planes this year. Amazon

AVENEL, NJ–Amazon.com, the largest e-commerce company in the world, is hiring more than 5,000 seasonal workers in the Garden State.

Workers are needed at centers in Avenel, Elizabeth, Logan Township, Moonachie, Robbinsville, and Swedesboro, said an Amazon spokesperson.

Amazon is creating 120,000 seasonal positions at its U.S. fulfillment centers, sortation centers and customer service sites for the holidays, according to a company news release.

The Amazon spokesperson said the e-tail giant "hopes people across the state of New Jersey apply for open roles at any of the Amazon locations [and warehouses]." 

That's 20 percent more positions compared to the amount needed for last year’s holiday season -- quite an increase. (Last year Amazon hired about a 100,000 seasonal workers.)

"We love serving customers during the busy holiday season and we’re excited to bring on more than 120,000 seasonal employees this year to support growing customer demand,” said Mike Roth, Amazon Vice President of Global Customer Fulfillment.

"More than 14,000 seasonal employees stayed on in regular, full-time positions," after last year's seasonal hirings, Roth said.

But he thinks Amazon can top the number of employees who become full-timers after the holiday rush.

Amazon says it has tens of thousands of new full-time roles, nationwide, noting “full-time employees receive competitive wages and comprehensive benefits, including healthcare, 401(k) with 50 percent match, stock awards and bonuses."

Plus, Amazon offers “innovative programs such as Career Choice, which pre-pays 95 percent of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon,” says the release.

Amazon operates as many as 100 fulfillment centers across the United States and also has seasonal positions available in 26 other states.

Candidates interested in seasonal positions can learn more and apply online at www.amazon.com/seasonal.

AMAZON DELIVERY NETWORK A HUGE “SORT OF WEB”

Amazon is “very secretive and quiet” said Bloomberg Journalist Devin Leonard, as he spoke about his recent Business Week magazine story: "Planes, Drones, and Automobiles and Ships and Bikes and Self-Driving Trucks and Segways…"

Amazon’s delivery network in the U.S. represents a huge “sort of web” that also extends into the U.K., Germany, and India, said Leonard on Bloomberg radio. “It’s much bigger than people realize.”

According to projections, Amazon could sell 7.2 billion items this year as it continues to grow, and the company could be selling 75 percent more goods just four years from now, according to Gene Munster, an internet industry analyst with Piper Jaffray.

“In 2020 ... we expect them to sell 12.6 billion items,” Munster told Bloomberg Business Week.

Though Leonard said he knew delivery was vital to Amazon, citing the giant's ongoing investment in building its supply chain -- he said, a “light bulb went off” for him when Amazon began leasing a fleet of 40 planes this year to build its own air-cargo network -- a signal that Amazon's game plan transcends simply having enough capacity to meet peak demand.

Asked about the air freight hub in Wilmington, Ohio, originally owned by Airborne Express before being sold to DHL, who then partnered with Amazon, Munster says it’s “already up and running.”

He then explains something that Amazon told him about their “big breakdown” three years ago, when, amid the holidays, neither UPS nor FedEx could keep up with package deliveries “in time for Christmas.”

Leonard says Amazon cited certain “issues over the years” and acknowledged “their carriers” didn’t have sufficient capacity to handle large volume.

Although they’d been thinking about acquiring their own means of shipping for many years by, for example, leasing a fleet of planes, says Leonard, that’s when Amazon made “the big push."

MASTERING ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN

Amazon has learned from the "big breakdown," according to Leonard, who said the company's point of view is: “We’re not going to let that happen anymore... With the planes, we’re going to be flying items around in a day or two days.’"

“They’ve got big plans for that place,” said Leonard referring to the hub in Ohio. Amazon also acknowledged having its own freight forwarding license, he said.

By possibly selling space on cargo ships, said Leonard, or within the many trailers Amazon owns -- “when you put all the pieces together, you see there is a much bigger [worldwide] plan.”

“It’s Wal-Mart plus FedEx,” says Leonard, adding that they are building-out networks needed to become a shipping carrier in just three years.

“I fully expect Amazon to build out a logistics supply chain that others can use,” John Rossman, a former Amazon executive told Bloomberg. “Over the next five years? I doubt it. Over 10 or 15 years? Oh yeah.”

"Ultimately they [will] have to deliver a lot of packages themselves if they are going to grow as fast as they expect to grow, said Leonard."

NETWORK IN NEW JERSEY

At least two of Amazon’s fulfillment centers in Jersey may double as sortation centers and include those in Woodbridge and Logan Township.

The 75,000-square-foot site in Moonachie, Amazon's first Bergen County center, is a sortation center.

The company is building a second fulfillment center in Carteret, which may also double as a sortation center.

That center will be about 800,000-square-feet and employ as many as 1,500 full-time employees. Amazon will not comment on the status of its second center in Carteret.

In July 2014, Amazon opened a 1.2 million-square-foot fulfillment center, its largest in Jersey, in Robbinsville, which is in Mercer County.

"[The] expansion in New Jersey is directly tied to our increasing customer demand," said Akash Chauhan, Amazon Vice President of North America fulfillment operations earlier this year.