September 16, 2019
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Amazon Rising: Washington startup now Seattle's 2nd-largest private employer

Amazon’s boom continues, and the impact continues to resonate throughout its hometown of Seattle and across the region.

The company now employs 53,500 in the Seattle region, The Seattle Times reports, making it the region’s second-largest employer. Boeing leads private-sector employment with nearly 70,000 workers, the newspaper reports. Amazon’s rise has helped diversify the regional economy.

“The last half-dozen years in particular, we’ve seen that diversification accelerate due to Amazon’s growth and their presence as a pillar equal to Microsoft and Boeing from the private sector,” said Josh Brown, executive director of the Puget Sound Regional Council. Combined with yet another pillar, the 89,700 people employed at military bases near Tacoma, Everett and Bremerton, the region has seen an "amazing, historic period of job growth," Brown said.

And the average Amazon job pays well too, the newspaper noted, relying on an economic study that used data provided by the company. The average salary was $179,000, and total wages and compensation for Seattle-area employees came to $9 billion.

This story will continue to unfold as the company seeks to hire another 10,000 workers in the Seattle area and another 20,000 across the country in places like Dallas, Nashville and Chicago.

“The hiring push comes amid one of the tightest job markets in 50 years, and the company says the recruiting is separate from its typical seasonal hiring of thousands of temporary employees to staff its warehouses and transportation networks for the holidays,” reporter Benjamin Romano wrote. “Globally, Amazon had 647,500 full- and part-time employees at the end of 2018.”

Amazon’s impact on Puget Sound real estate is just as significant as its payroll. The e-commerce company has leased most of a new three story warehouse in South Seattle that includes specially-designed ramps and floors that can be accessed by semi-trucks, The Wall Street Journal reports. The goal is to speed up delivery times. The building also includes freight elevators that can carry forklifts.

“You have to go vertical because you can’t find a 50-acre space in the middle of a city close to the customer,” said Hamid Moghadam, Prologis’s chief executive.

That growth of the company and the overall economy has also strained the highways and housing markets, but Brown sees progress there too.

The region is investing more money per capita on transportation infrastructure than anywhere else in the country, he said. And housing construction has increased, with 27,500 new units added in the 12 months that ended in April.



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