By Arriana McLymore
NEW YORK, NY (Reuters) -Amazon said it plans to add 250,000 U.S. workers for the holiday shopping season, 67% more than the number of people it hired for the past two years, as it scrambles to expand next-day delivery for shoppers.
Amazon's plans contrast with other U.S. retailers, who say they will hire fewer people in stores and warehouses this year on expectations for reduced consumer spending in 2023. Forecasters expect holiday sales to come in at half of last year's rate due to concerns about higher prices.
Seasonal hiring is expected to drop to its lowest since 2008, according to researcher Challenger, Gray and Christmas, due to higher costs and weak consumer confidence.
Target on Tuesday said it would hire 100,000 employees for the holiday shopping season, flat year over year. Target also plans to begin offering discounts in October.
Macy's said it would hire more than 38,000 full and part-time workers for the upcoming holiday season, a decline from the previous year.
U.S. retail giant Walmart has not yet announced holiday hiring plans. However, it hired 40,000 seasonal workers in 2022.
Amazon's boost in hiring comes after it added 50 new fulfillment centers, delivery stations and same-day delivery in the United States, and as it prepares for its expanded fall Prime Event, scheduled for Oct. 10-11.
During Amazon's Prime Event, the e-commerce giant is encouraging its merchants to offer discounts, a strategy that could prompt some frugal shoppers to open their wallets and splurge on gifts well ahead of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping days.
Amazon's seasonal hiring includes full-time, part-time and seasonal fulfillment employees, it said.
New seasonal workers hired to pick, sort, pack and ship orders will get a sign-on bonuses between $1,000 and $3,000 in select locations, compared to associates who received $3,000 bonuses in 2022 and 2021 in some locations, it said.
Amazon said it will pay its seasonal workers $17 to $28 per hour on average depending on their jobs and locations, compared to the $19 hourly wage workers were offered last year.
The Seattle-based e-retailer said it will invest $1.3 billion for pay increases for fulfillment and transportation workers this year.
"A fulfillment or transportation employee who starts with us today will see a 13% increase in pay over the next three years —likely more, including our annual wage investments," John Felton, Amazon senior vice president of worldwide operations, said in a statement.
Amazon earlier this year laid off 27,000 staffers, or about 9% of its workforce, in its advertising, cloud computing and human resources departments following a string of tech lay offs.
(Reporting by Arriana McLymore in New York City; Editing by Mark Porter)