E-commerce giant Amazon announced Tuesday it began the process of hiring 2,500 full-time employees for its new fulfillment center in Houston, expected to open this summer. This marks the seventh facility the company will house in Texas.
Last year, when Amazon officials released details about the massive 855,000 square-foot Houston structure, they anticipated hiring 1,000 people to pick, pack, and ship smaller customer items like toys, books, and electronics from this warehouse. However, this week, they upped that figure to 2,500 full-time positions to better meet rising consumer demand for products.
The Houston distribution center will also include hundreds of robotics technology units designed to quickly retrieve inventory for their human counterparts tasked with the expeditious packing and shipping of items, according to the Houston Chronicle. Currently, the company has more than 80,000 of these units operational in roughly 25 of their facilities nationwide.
Amazon agreed to invest $136 million into the Houston site in a rare deal struck last year where Harris County commissioners granted the Seattle-headquartered company a 10-year tax break expected to save them $180,000 annually, noted the Chronicle. This abatement will also benefit local tax coffers by increasing the property’s value by $116 million. In return, the county will waive 65 percent of taxes on $82 million of that increase.
Also, on Tuesday, Amazon’s stock hit $1,000 per share for the first time since the company went public in 1997 when, according to Investopedia, its stock was priced at $18 per share. Breitbart Tech reported the new stock price put Amazon’s market value at roughly $478 billion, double that of Wal-Mart and more than 15 times the size of Target. Only four other U.S.-listed companies have shares that trade above $1,000.
In January, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said the company planned to add more than 100,000 full-time jobs nationwide by mid-2018, bringing its U.S.-based employee headcount to 280,000.
“We plan to add another 100,000 new Amazonians across the company over the next 18 months as we open new fulfillment centers, and continue to invent in areas like cloud technology, machine learning, and advanced logistics,” he said in a prepared statement.
Since 2013, Amazon’s fulfillment workforce has exploded in Texas to include more than 10,000 full-time workers across seven facilities located in Dallas, Fort Worth, Haslet, Schertz, San Marcos, Coppell, and Houston, the last of which remains under construction. Amazon also employs more than 500 associates in its Austin corporate office and they say they have openings for hundreds more.
The company also has a sorting facility in Humble, a suburb north of Houston, plus an Amazon Prime Now center in northwest Houston, which is stocked with thousands of items for local Prime members and boasts speedy delivery within two hours. On restaurant orders, though, they promise delivery within one hour of placing an order.
In March, Amazon announced plans for a second Houston-area fulfillment center located in Katy. They intend to fill 1,000 full-time positions in a one million square-foot warehouse situated on 80 acres.
Besides Texas, the online retail powerhouse has fulfillment centers in the states of Washington, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Florida, and New Jersey. The company offers generous healthcare and other benefits, stock awards, up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave, plus a “career choice” program where Amazon pre-pays up to 95 percent of tuition for higher education and technological training for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether those skills are relevant to one’s career at the company.
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