Online retailer Amazon today announced plans for a major expansion of its U.S. operations. The company, which currently employs about 180,000 full-time workers, said it will add another 100,000 full-time positions over the next 18 months, an increase of more than 55 percent.
The new jobs will include positions based throughout the country and encompass all experience levels, education and skill sets, according to an Amazon statement. The company said it will be hiring new engineers and software developers and plans to expand the number of entry-level positions as well, with opportunities for on-the-job training.
Hiring More Workers, Building More Robots
Amazon has recently started construction on a number of new fulfillment centers around the U.S., and announced plans for even more in a number of states, including Texas, California, Florida, and New Jersey. Many of the new positions will be based at these new facilities, the company said.
“Innovation is one of our guiding principles at Amazon, and it’s created hundreds of thousands of American jobs. 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 Jeff Bezos (pictured above), Amazon founder and CEO, in the statement.
In addition to the new jobs and fulfillment centers, Bezos said the company also plans to expand its role in its more high-tech products and services such as cloud technology, machine learning and advanced logistics.
Human labor isn’t the only way that Amazon is expanding. The company also increased the number of robots it uses in its fulfillment centers as part of its efforts to drive costs down. The company reportedly increased the number of robots used in those centers by 50 percent last year, for a grand total of 45,000.
A New Credit Card
The company also said this week that it's launching a new credit card for members of its Prime program. The card, called the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, will include features such as 5 percent cash back for all Amazon purchases, 2 percent back for purchases made at restaurants, gas stations, and drug stores and 1 percent back for all other purchases.
Non-Prime members can also apply for the card, but they will only receive 3 percent cash back from their Amazon purchases.
The credit card will also come with a $70 Amazon gift card, which would cover almost all of the $99 annual fee for Prime membership. Additionally, there is no membership fee (excluding the Prime membership fee) and no foreign transaction fee for the card. The company is issuing the card in collaboration with JP Morgan Chase bank.
The new credit card adds yet another perk to the retailer’s Prime program, which helps captivate shoppers by offering unlimited video and music content, along with free two-day shipping.