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Amazon plans to hire 150,000 seasonal workers as it ramps up for the holidays

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Amazon plans to hire 150,000 seasonal workers as the biggest online retailer readies to keep up with demand during the holiday shopping season.

That's a substantially bigger holiday hiring target than last year, when the company said it would bring in 100,000 temporary employees to help store, pack and ship products from its warehouses.   

Starting wages average $18 an hour, with an additional $3 an hour for those willing to work overnight and weekend shifts, Amazon said in a news release. The company is also offering signing bonuses of up to $3,000, depending on location. 

Amazon recently boosted pay and benefits as it and other companies from retailers to banks struggle with a dearth of workers, a challenge mentioned by Amazon in reporting second-quarter earnings.

"We're spending a lot of money on signing and incentives," CFO Brian Olsavsky told an analysts call in July. "And while we have very good staffing levels, it's not without a cost. It's a very competitive labor market out there, and certainly, the biggest contributor to inflationary pressures that we're seeing in the business."

The seasonal jobs has Amazon looking to hire across the U.S., including 23,000 in California, 6,200 in Arizona and 4,500 in Illinois. Large numbers are also being hired in states including Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. 

Amazon says "many" of its seasonal hires ultimately become full-time workers. The company certainly has been expanding its operations at a breakneck pace with the pandemic-induced surge in online shopping. The company in September said it had opened 250 logistics plants in the U.S. so far in 2021, and planned to add another 100 that month alone. 

Its current recruitment of seasonal workers comes in addition to the Seattle-based company's campaign to fill about 40,000 technology and corporate positions at more than 220 U.S. locations. 

Amazon has become the nation's second-largest private employer, after Walmart, and had a workforce of 1.3 million people as of the end of June. 

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