In January Amazon said that it plans to hire 100,000 more workers in the next 18 months, which received a fair amount of attention in the news. But it turns out that’s right in line with Amazon’s current hiring habits.

According to the company’s fourth quarter earnings report released yesterday, Amazon’s full-time and part-time employees, excluding contractors and temp workers, jumped from 230,800 thousand at the end of 2015 to 341,400 at the end of 2016.

That’s a crazy number of new workers — nearly the size of Microsoft’s entire workforce, as GeekWire points out here — and places Amazon in the upper echelon of the nations’s biggest employers. It’s also a part of Amazon’s grand plan to manage every aspect of its shipping and distribution network, as it builds out its own cargo airline hubs and ocean freight shipping networks.

There are a few caveats, of course. Many of these new jobs were in fulfillment roles in the third and fourth quarters of the year, according to Amazon’s chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky, who also noted that of the 26 new warehouses Amazon added, 23 were added in the second half of 2016. So, while some of these new jobs may be delivery jobs or technical jobs, the “predominant factor” is headcount around fulfillment jobs.

These tend to be relatively low-paying, sometimes physically taxing jobs, although Amazon has, in the past, offered perks like tuition reimbursement to fulfillment centre workers. It’s also unclear how these kinds of jobs will be impacted, in both the near term and long term, by automation, which has become a hot-button topic at the intersection of tech and policy lately.

The other thing to consider, though, is that Amazon’s own reported numbers don’t factor in the number of other jobs that are created as a part of the whole Amazon ecosystem, like the businesses created by independent sellers on Amazon.com.

Source: The Verge

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