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Amazon Hiring 150,000 Seasonal Workers Amid Record US Labor Shortage, Surging Wages

Amazon will offer sign-on bonuses of $3,000, with wages as high as $21 per hour, in a push to add 150,000 workers heading into the holiday season.

Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report said Monday it plans to hire 150,000 workers heading into the holiday season, with wages as high as $21 an hour, amid one of the most severe labor shortages in U.S. history. 

Amazon said it will offer the seasonal hires an average of $18 per hour to start, with some shifts getting an additional $3 per hour. Sign-on bonuses of up to $3,000 are also on the table, Amazon said, with the bulk of the new roles based in Arizona, California, Colorado and Florida.

“We are proud to be offering a huge range of full-time, part-time, and now seasonal jobs with great pay and benefits,” said Alicia Boler Davis, senior vice president, Global Customer Fulfillment. “Our seasonal hiring helps us deliver on our promises to customers while also providing flexibility to our full-time employees during busy periods."

"Joining Amazon in one of our seasonal roles offers high-paying, part-time work, or a path to a full-time position, with benefits like our Career Choice program to help people advance their education and careers within Amazon or beyond,” she added.  

Amazon shares closed 1.1% higher Monday at $3,446.74 each, a move that nudges the stock's year-to-date gain to around 8.2%.

The headcount expansion, however, comes amid one of the worst labor shortages on record, with unfilled positions around the U.S. pegged at 10.4 million in August, down from a record 11.1 million at the beginning of the summer.

In fact, Around 4.3 million people left their jobs in the final month of the summer, even in the face of expiring unemployment benefits, underscoring the challenges employers face in a tight labor market heading into the crucial holiday season.

The benefit expiration, however, as well as improving vaccination rates and rising wage offers, have failed to tempt Americans back into the job market, with just 429,000 net new positions created over the past two months, easily the slowest gains for the year, although the BLS has noted that "pandemic-related staffing fluctuations in public and private education have distorted the normal seasonal hiring and layoff patterns.

That said, average hourly earnings rose 4.6% from last year to $30.85, as blue-chip companies such as Amazon and Walmart  (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report ramp-up hiring plans heading into the holiday season.

Amazon will publish its third quarter earnings on October 28, following its first revenue miss in three years in the second quarter, and a 27% increase in operating expenses tied to COVID costs and rising wages.

Amazon has said it sees operating income of between $3.5 billion to $6 billion on revenues in the range of $106 billion to $112 billion, compared to the Refinitiv forecast of $118.9 billion, for the three months ending in September.