For most people, the coronavirus is shutting down the economy and disrupting daily life. But that is not the case at Amazon.
The conglomerate announced plans to hire another 100,000 delivery workers as Americans across the country hunker down in their homes, The Hill reported. The reports come amid fears of a recession as the nation’s economy faces huge disruptions from a lack of consumer activity at brick-and-mortar stores.
“We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year,” wrote Amazon’s senior vice president of operations, Dave Clark, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Amazon plans hiring surge
As the deadly pandemic known as COVID-19 spreads through the United States, life has begun changing in almost surreal ways. Americans are having to adjust to living in isolation as schools close, employers send workers home, and governments shutter bars and restaurants.
With these bizarre lifestyle shifts has come a surge in demand for home delivery of food and goods of all descriptions. Amazon is now facing an “unprecedented” rise in orders, prompting the company to hire another 100,000 warehouse workers, the company said, according to Fox News. Amazon will temporarily give its warehouse employees, which start at $15 an hour, a $2 raise.
However, Amazon has seen impacts on its supply chains because of the virus, and the company is racing to re-stock household and medical goods that are in especially high demand. The company announced that it will suspend shipments of non-essential goods to its warehouses until April 5 amid a deluge of orders for basic supplies. Those non-essential goods can still be purchased through Amazon, but sellers may have to deliver them directly to customers rather than through Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon service, with the company stating:
We understand this is a change for our selling partners and appreciate their understanding as we temporarily prioritize these products for customers.
America stays home
Amazon’s decision is just one sign of how the U.S. economy is being transformed by COVID-19. Recession speculation has mounted after the stock market suffered a brutal drop on Monday, its worst in decades, and businesses big and small, from airlines to brick-and-mortar shops, continued to feel a crunch.
Take-out and delivery from services such as UberEats will likely increase as states and local governments ban dining-in at restaurants and bars across the country. And media corporations like HBO are taking advantage of the situation by offering free episodes of popular programs to Americans quarantined at home.
In the meantime, the citizenry is looking for immediate financial help as many have or expect to lost jobs and paychecks. The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it is considering making direct payments to Americans to help them weather the crisis.
Trump: Stop panic buying
The unprecedented measures are part and parcel of a nationwide mobilization against what Donald Trump has called a “hidden enemy,” in a clear tone shift, as the American government moves to a war footing to battle the pandemic. The Trump administration has consulted with private companies including Amazon as it responds to the public health and economic effects of the virus. Amazon was included on a recent a call with numerous retailers about keeping supply chains healthy, The Hill said.
The White House has told people to not panic and to avoid stockpiling groceries and other daily necessities.
“Supply chains in the United States are strong, and it is unnecessary for the American public to hoard daily essentials. The President thanked the executives for their close partnership and pledged to stay in close communication,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said of the aforementioned call.