Amazon is big ... really, really big; workforce hits 500K

Amazon says it now employs more than 500,000 people in the U.S., another sign of the online shopping giant's rapid growth

Amazon's U.S. workforce has topped 500,000 for the first time, up 43% from the year before and more than triple what it was five years ago, the company said Friday. It gained 150,000 workers last year, more than the size of Apple's entire workforce.

Being under the microscope has not slowed its phenomenal growth. Sales during the holiday season soared. Its other businesses, including cloud computing and advertising, grew, too, despite increased competition from other big tech companies.

Analysts at Benchmark said the results were a “not-so-subtle reminder Amazon is still king."

After retreating from a proposed new headquarters location in New York City because of local opposition, it has ramped up hiring across the country, including New York City. Amazon said it has 30,000 workers in tech offices outside of its Seattle home, in cities such as Chicago, Denver and Austin, Texas. That group of workers is up 50% in the last year and a half, Amazon said.

It has also increased hiring at its warehouses and delivery centers, where orders are packed and shipped.

Worldwide, Amazon had 798,000 employees by the end of last year. Only one American company beats Amazon in the size of its workforce: retail rival Walmart, which employs 1.5 million in the U.S. and more than 2 million worldwide.

Walmart, however, took 35 years to build a workforce of similar size to Amazon today. Amazon reached the milestone in 24 years, more than a decade sooner.

——————

This story was corrected to say Amazon has 30,000 workers in tech offices, not 30,000 tech offices.