business news in context, analysis with attitude

CNBC has a piece about the jobs fair that Amazon held last week as it looked to fill 50,000 positions at its warehouses around the country. While such jobs “account for the vast majority of the company's 380,000 employees,” the story says, “the fastest-growing part of Amazon's workforce has nothing to do with stocking and packing products. Sales jobs at the company's cloud and advertising businesses are growing at a faster pace than any other position.”

Indeed, “the growth in the company's sales force for its sprawling cloud and advertising units shows Amazon's focus on expanding two of its fastest-growing and highest-margin businesses. It also suggests Amazon is signing up bigger corporate customers who pay larger checks.

Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said during an earnings call last week that “more salespeople are needed in those businesses as Amazon goes beyond customers who rely on self-serve tools to the ones that need individual sales contacts and support. Business customers typically speak to salespeople before making purchasing decisions.”

Interestingly, MarketWatch had a story over the weekend pointing out that the US Department of Labor said last week that “as many transportation and warehouse jobs were created in July as retail ones … 900 new retail jobs were created, matching the new positions in transportation and warehousing.”

The increase in transportation and warehouse jobs, the story says, reflects the realities of “the Amazon economy.”

Of course, any increase in retail jobs is an exception to what has seemed to be the rule.

“Over the last 12 months - a time of U.S. expansion and job creation more broadly - the retail sector has shed 7,000 jobs,” the story says. “Department stores have slashed 23,400 jobs in the past year.

“Amazon’s jobs would be in the category called nonstore retailing, which has added close to 28,000 jobs in the last 12 months. The transportation and warehousing category, by contrast, has created over 90,000 positions.”
KC's View:
Some jobs are going to become more plentiful. Others are going to become obsolete. I think that’s called progress.

Keep in mind that prediction from Google that I quoted earlier this year after attending the GMDC “Retail Tomorrow” conference - that 65 percent of children entering elementary school this year will end up working in jobs that currently do not exist. That doesn’t mean they’ll be unemployed … just invested in a future some of which we cannot yet envision, but for which we must begin to prepare.