(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. plans to hire 150,000 seasonal workers, about the same as last year despite slowing sales growth and predictions of a lackluster holiday shopping season.
The world’s largest online retailer typically hires legions of temporary workers this time of year to help store, pack and ship items from its warehouses. Employees can earn more than $19 an hour, on average, based on their position and location in the US, Amazon said in a statement.
The announcement suggests that Amazon expects steady demand for its logistics services even with shoppers back in stores and trimming their budgets amid the highest inflation in decades. In an effort to jumpstart sales going into the holiday season, the company will hold a two-day Prime Day sale next week, the first time Amazon has hosted such an event twice in the same year.
Amazon ratcheted up hiring during the pandemic to handle a surge in orders from home-bound shoppers. When consumers returned to their previous shopping habits this year, the Seattle-based company found itself saddled with too many workers and facilities.
Amazon has since shuttered, delayed or abandoned plans for dozens of warehouses in the US and Europe, Bloomberg reported in September. The company also winnowed its workforce -- primarily through attrition, Amazon says -- by almost 100,000 people between March and June, the biggest quarterly decline in its history. The company recently froze hiring in the corporate jobs behind its retail business for the rest of the year.
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Despite Amazon’s decision to keep seasonal hiring steady, the third-party merchants who account for more than half of the company’s online sales are bracing for what many fear will be a dreary holiday shopping season. Some expect to cut prices to move unsold inventory. It’s an abrupt change from 2020 and 2021 when sellers were scrambling to get enough products into Amazon warehouses to meet pandemic-fueled demand, even as chronic shortages let them increase prices.
This year, US online sales will rise just 9.4% to $1 trillion, the first time growth has slipped into the single digits, according to Insider Intelligence, which in June lowered its earlier annual forecast. Spending on Amazon will hit $400 billion, up 9% and slower than the overall industry, the research firm says.
Amazon, the second-largest private US employer after Walmart Inc., employed 1.5 million people at the end of June. Last year at this time, the company said it would hire about 150,000 seasonal workers. Walmart also hired 150,000 temporary workers in 2021 but last month said it would cut holiday recruiting to some 40,000 people.
(Updated with details on corporate hiring freeze, Prime Day plans, beginning in the third paragraph.)
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