Amazon has announced plans to create more than 100,000 full-time jobs in the US over the next 18 months, expanding its stateside workforce by over 50% in excess of 280,000. In its announcement, the ecommerce giant said many of the jobs will be in new fulfilment centres currently under construction in states across America including California, Texas, Florida and New Jersey.
The company's US workforce has grown from 30,000 employees in 2011 to around 180,000 in 2016.
The Seattle-based company said the hiring would include a wide range of positions "from engineers and software developers to those seeking entry-level positions and on-the-job training". It will also involve cloud technology, logistics and machine learning, the company said.
"Innovation is one of our guiding principles at Amazon, and it's created hundreds of thousands of American jobs," Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said. "These jobs are not just in our Seattle headquarters or in Silicon Valley - they're in our customer service network, fulfilment centres and other facilities in local communities across the country."
Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer partially credited President-elect Donald Trump for Amazon's proposed hiring spree.
"The president-elect was pleased to have played a role in that decision by Amazon," Spicer said during the transition team's daily briefing, Reuters reports. "The president-elect met heads of several of the tech companies and urged them to keep their jobs and production inside the United States."
In December last year, Trump met several prominent Silicon Valley executives, including Apple's Tim Cook, Alphabet's Larry Page, Microsoft's Satya Nadella, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and Bezos.
"We view this announcement positively in terms of the current trajectory of Amazon's businesses, as well as management's confidence in the long-term outlook," Baird analyst Colin Sebastian said, the Associated Press reports. "The hiring is consistent with our view that Amazon will continue to invest aggressively in its retail, media, technology and logistics businesses.
"While there may be some 'political capital' involved with the timing and details of Amazon's announcement, we suspect there is little, if any, shift of employment at Amazon from international locations to the US. Moreover, we expect the pace of hiring internationally to accelerate as well."
Over the course of his election campaign, Trump clashed with several tech companies including Amazon by calling it a "tax shelter" and accusing Bezos of buying the Washington Post to gain political clout. He also promised to take action against Amazon and Bezos if he became president.
In turn, Bezos hit back at Trump, accusing him of "eroding our democracy" and joking that he could send him into space with one of his Blue Origin rockets.
During his presidential campaign, Trump made job creation a key point on his agenda, criticising several companies that moved jobs overseas or planned to open new plants outside the US.
Last month, Trump tweeted that US firms looking to move operations abroad would face "consequences", vowing to impose a 35% tax on products sold in the US by any business that fired American workers and built a factory overseas.
Amazon's announcement comes just a few days after Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba's executive chairman Jack Ma met Trump and pledged to create one million US jobs over the next five years by allowing small American businesses to sell goods to consumers through its platform.
It also comes amid signficiant job reductions and store closures elsewhere in the retail industry as customers continue to shift their shopping online.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Walmartwas looking to slash nearly 1,000 corporate jobs before the end of January, citing an executive familiar with the situation. Last week, Macy's said it would cut around 10,000 jobs this year and shut down 68 stores. The Limited announced earlier in January that it will be closing all of its 250 stores nationwide resulting in around 4,000 job cuts.