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Amazon is leapfrogging the world’s largest employers

An employee scans packages at Amazon's JFK8 distribution center in Staten Island, New York, U.S. November 25, 2020.
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Amazon now has 1.2 million employees around the world.
  • Amanda Shendruk
By Amanda Shendruk

Visual journalist


In a year plagued by widespread layoffs, Amazon is bucking the trend. As of October, the company added 427,300 employees, increasing its workforce to 1.2 million, according to a report by the New York Times. This year, Amazon added roughly 1,400 people a day.

Currently listed as the world’s fifth largest employer in the Fortune 500, Amazon’s historic levels of hiring are likely to move it up to third.

Walmart, the largest employer, currently employs 2.2 million workers. At Amazon’s current pace of hiring, it would be able to take the title in two years. (Of course, Walmart has also been adding to its workforce during the pandemic.)

Covid-19 has put renewed focus on Amazon’s workplace conditions—last week, the company agreed to pay a one-time bonus amid threats of worker strikes—but a difficult job market means Amazon is unlikely to run out of willing employees anytime soon. In the week leading up to Sept. 16, the company received nearly 400,000 job applications, the NYT reported. That’s a rate of 38 per minute.

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