Amazon says it plans to hire thousands of employees in what it calls the nation's largest job fair next month, including for its Chattanooga distribution center.
The company is opening up 10 of its fulfillment centers across the country on Wednesday, Aug. 2, from 8 a.m. to noon for its first "Jobs Day" with tours and information sessions. Candidates can come on-site, including in Chattanooga at its Enterprise South industrial park site, to learn more about working at Amazon and the technology it utilizes in its operations.
The company plans to make thousands of on-the-spot job offers, saying it has more than 50,000 jobs available, including hundreds in Tennessee.
"We're excited to be creating great jobs that offer highly competitive wages, benefits starting on day one and the chance for employees to go back to school through our Career Choice program," John Olsen, vice president of Amazon's Worldwide Operations Human Resources, said in a statement.
The offered jobs on the spot will pack or sort boxes and help ship them to customers. Nearly 40,000 of the 50,000 jobs will be full time. Most of these jobs will count toward Amazon's previously announced goal of adding 100,000 full-time workers by the middle of next year.
The hiring spree is yet another sign of Amazon's massive growth at a time when traditional retailers are closing stores and cutting jobs.
It's also a way for Amazon to lock in employees before the start of the busy holiday shopping season, when other retailers look to hire seasonal workers. Retailers are facing a tighter job market; the nation's unemployment rate is 4.4 percent, near a 16-year low.
Amazon has long been known for investing the money it makes back into its businesses. Part of that involves opening new warehouses, or fulfillment centers, and filling them with employees. Consequently, Amazon has often reported quarterly losses , even as revenue grows.
The number of full-time and part-time workers at Amazon has swelled from 56,000 at the end of 2011 to more than 340,000 last year. In roughly the same period, the number of people employed by the parent company of Sears and Kmart has been slashed in half to about 140,000 workers.
Amazon plans to expand further: It recently announced a $13.7 billion deal to buy organic grocer Whole Foods, it added Sears' Kenmore appliances to its website and it's rolling out its own ready-to-cook meal kits, competing with companies such as Blue Apron.
Pay differs based on location, according to job postings on Amazon's site.