From a company that began simply as an online book seller in 1994, taking an early lead in the fledgling e-commerce environment, Amazon has grown to become a technology powerhouse that values doing business in the Garden State. Amazon boasts approximately 1.3 million people worldwide, with approximately 1 million in the US alone. Here in New Jersey, the company employs some 49,000 people and has invested more than $20 billion. In the following Q&A, answered by Colin Newman, Amazon’s director of public policy, a deeper understanding of Amazon’s presence in the state is revealed.
Why is NJ a great location for Amazon? There are a variety of factors we consider when selecting locations for Amazon facilities. We look for business-friendly environments and local talent who will help us raise the bar when it comes to customer service – we’ve found both in New Jersey. This location also allows us to respond quickly to customer demand.
What is Amazon’s economic impact on NJ? Between 2010 and 2020, Amazon invested about $23 billion, including infrastructure and compensation to our employees in New Jersey. As of the fourth quarter of 2020, we created 49,000 full- and part-time jobs in the state. Last month, we announced that we’re hiring more than 8,000 new employees in the state. These roles in fulfillment and transportation offer an average starting wage of more than $18 per hour – and up to $22.50 per hour in some locations – and include health benefits, our Career Choice tuition assistance program, and often a signing bonus of up to $3,000.
We are also proud of how so many small and medium-sized businesses are able to succeed selling on Amazon, fueling job growth in their local communities. A majority of the items sold on Amazon are sold by third-party sellers, including small businesses across New Jersey. Ranked by state, New Jersey has the sixth most small business sellers per capita with more than 20,000.
In all communities in which we operate, we strive to be not just a good employer, but also a good neighbor. To that end, we are building local partnerships that make New Jersey communities stronger. I just participated in an event with the Boys and Girls Club of Mercer County, announcing a $100,000 donation supporting its afterschool programs. We’ve made similar commitments to organizations throughout the state in areas ranging from healthcare and workforce development, to the arts. I imagine as our presence in New Jersey grows, so, too, will our engagement in this area.
How is Amazon coping with current global supply chain issues? This year, we have hired even more people and invested in technology to help us better predict what products our customers will want – and where and when they’ll want to receive them.
We’ve also continued to invest in our transportation capabilities, creating a supply chain that is built for an environment where safety, speed and efficiency are of the essence. We recently announced that we are bringing on 150,000 seasonal employees to help with demand over the holidays, including 5,500 here in New Jersey. We’ve increased ports of entry across our network by 50%, doubled our container processing capacity, and expanded our ocean freight carrier network partnerships to secure committed capacity into critical ports within our network.
What are your recommendations to holiday shoppers because of the supply chain issues? For customers, we’re reminding them: know your options and when possible, plan ahead. Rest assured that we deliver for customers every day and we’ll continue to do so this holiday season. We’ll continue to meet our delivery promises. However, those delivery dates may be a bit longer than the one-day or two-day deliveries customers might expect. So, plan ahead, evaluate your options, but know we’re working hard to continue providing excellent service.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted operations? When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, we quickly changed many parts of how we work to help keep employees safe. We undertook one of the most comprehensive overhauls of our processes in Amazon’s 25-year history, including how our facilities were cleaned and how employees were trained.
Early in the pandemic, access to regular and reliable COVID-19 testing was scarce around the world. Amazon assembled a team of professionals with a variety of skills and moved them from their day jobs to focus on creating a scalable COVID-19 testing program for their colleagues. As vaccine supplies have become more widely available, we have continued to host on-site vaccine events to help our front-line employees and their family members. We hosted more than 1,800 free vaccination events at Amazon facilities across the US, making COVID-19 vaccines available to more than 1 million Amazon employees and their families.
We will continue working hard to create solid jobs and support our communities now and for the long run.
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