Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced on Thursday an ambitious plan to rapidly expand its workforce in the U.S.
The e-commerce giant said it will hire 100,000 new full-time employees over the next 18 months, boosting its domestic workforce to 280,000 people. That reflects a 56% surge compared to the end of 2016. In 2011, Amazon had 30,000 employees in the U.S.
All of the 100,000 new jobs will include full benefits, Amazon said. Many of the job openings will be found in Amazon fulfillment centers that were announced over the past several months and are already under construction in Texas, California, Florida, New Jersey and other states.
In Amazonâ€™s hometown of Seattle, the company is spreading its wings. Amazon headquarters will cover more than 30 buildings and 10 million square feet in downtown Seattle following the completion of an ongoing expansion project.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said Amazonâ€™s job growth coincides with investments in cloud technology, machine learning and advanced logistics, in addition to new fulfillment centers.
â€œInnovation is one of our guiding principles at Amazon, and itâ€™s created hundreds of thousands of American jobs. These jobs are not just in our Seattle headquarters or in Silicon Valleyâ€”theyâ€™re in our customer service network, fulfillment centers and other facilities in local communities throughout the country,â€ Bezos said.
Amazon shares rose 0.6% to $803.78 in mid-morning trading.
The news comes as traditional American brick-and-mortar retailers continue to close stores amid a shift to online shopping. Macyâ€™s (NYSE:M) and Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD) recently announced more closings after reporting weak sales.
Amazonâ€™s announcement also echoes other multinational corporations that have presented plans to add U.S. jobs following Donald Trumpâ€™s election victory.
Softbank, which holds a majority stake in Sprint (NYSE:S), has said it will invest $50 billion and create 50,000 jobs in the U.S. The pledge was announced by CEO Masayoshi Son in December after a meeting with Trump.
Ford (NYSE:F) made headlines last week when it canceled plans to build a factory in Mexico, instead choosing to spend $700 million on expanding American plants.
Bezos, Amazon and The Washington Post, which Bezos acquired in 2013, drew the ire of President-elect Donald Trump during the presidential campaign. The Amazon chief was an outspoken critic of the Republican nominee, even joking on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) about sending Trump to space. Bezos softened his stance after the election. In a tweet, Bezos congratulated Trump after his victory. He also attended Trumpâ€™s meeting with tech executives in December.
â€œI shared the view that the administration should make innovation one of its key pillars, which would create a huge number of jobs across the whole country, in all sectors, not just tech â€” agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing â€” everywhere,â€ Bezos said in a statement following the meeting.