Amazon says the coronavirus outbreak has caused a surge in online shopping, and now the online giant is adding 100,000 new full-time and part-time positions across the United States to keep up with the demand.
The jobs will be Amazon’s fulfillment centers and its delivery network.
“We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year,” Amazon (AMZN) said in a blog post Monday.
On Saturday, the company said customers could experience more extended delivery times than usual because of the high volume of orders as coronavirus spreads. The number of cases in the United States surpassed 4,000 on Monday.
That announcement comes after Amazon has made speeding up shipments a key part of its business strategy over the past year.
The company also said Saturday that it is out of stock on “some popular brands and items, especially in household staples categories.” A search by CNN Business Monday showed that among the things Amazon appears to be out of are brand-name toilet paper and several types of brand-name disinfectant wipes.
“We believe our role serving customers and the community during this time is a critical one, and we want to make sure people can get the items they need, when they need them,” the company said in the post Saturday. “We are working around the clock with our selling partners to ensure availability on all of our products, and bring on additional capacity to deliver all of your orders.”
In addition to hiring thousands of new workers, Amazon said it is investing more than $350 million to raise pay for hourly employees in warehouse and distribution roles through April. It will pay an additional $2 USD per hour above the base hourly rate of $15 or more, depending on the region, in the United States, £2 more per hour in the United Kingdom and €2 more per hour in many European countries.
The company said it is consulting with medical and health experts on recommended safety precautions within its facilities, and has implemented “social distancing in the workplace” and enhanced cleaning.
During the outbreak, Amazon has also had to grapple with sellers on its site trying to capitalize on coronavirus inappropriately.
Earlier this month, Amazon said it pulled more than 1 million products for price gouging or falsely advertising effectiveness against the coronavirus.
“We actively monitor our store and remove offers that violate our policy,” the company said in its blog post this weekend.