NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - Amazon is repackaging a special delivery for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The man moving in ordered jobs from around the country and the e-commerce titan says it can supply 100,000 of them by mid-2018. That sounds impressive, but also tracks Amazon’s workforce growth of late. It’s just the sort of box with a bow, however, that seems to satisfy the intended recipient.
The $380 billion company led by Jeff Bezos has been expanding rapidly, selling more stuff in more places while developing new gadgets like its voice-powered Echo speaker and growing its cloud-computing business. That translates into increased employment at home in Seattle and other cities where it builds distribution centers. Some 30,000 Americans worked at Amazon in 2011. By 2016, the number had grown to 180,000.
On Thursday, it trumpeted in a press release that the figure would swell to 280,000 in 18 months. That would be slightly slower annual jobs growth than the over 40 percent rate of the last five years, but also represents the sort of dropoff to be expected for a company of Amazon’s scale.
Touting otherwise calculable hiring plans can be chalked up to President-elect Donald Trump. During the election campaign, he said Amazon paid too little in taxes, had a huge antitrust problem and that Bezos was using his ownership of the Washington Post to influence politicians. “They’re going to have such problems,” Trump said of Amazon last year, if he was voted into the White House. Bezos joked in response at the time that he would reserve a seat for Trump on one of the rockets he is building.
Instead, after making an awkward pilgrimage to Trump Tower last month with other technology chieftains, Bezos has tried to send a more serious message. It may be recycled goods bundled up at little expense, but it comes in just the sort of box with a bow that seems to satisfy the intended recipient.
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