Amazon burns through workers so quickly that executives are worried they’ll run out of people to employ, according to a new report

Amazon fulfillment center
Inside an Amazon warehouse. Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Amazon has been hiring hundreds of thousands of workers for roles in its warehouses, which it calls fulfillment centers, but those employees have been quitting almost as fast as they can be hired, according to a huge report from The New York Times published on Tuesday.

Many of the over 350,000 workers Amazon hired from July to October stayed with the company “just days or weeks,” the report said.

Hourly employees had a turnover rate of about 150% every year, data reviewed by The Times indicated. That led some Amazon executives to worry about running out of hirable employees in the US, the report said.

Amazon went on an extended hiring spree in 2020 as it attempted to keep up with a massive spike in demand during coronavirus lockdowns. As Americans increasingly turned to Amazon for things like toiletries and groceries, the company repeatedly touted major hiring pushes.

By May 2021, Amazon was even offering $1,000 signing bonuses to new employees – partially a symptom of hiring issues that employers are facing in a variety of industries, and potentially of Amazon’s remarkably high turnover rate.

One former Amazon manager who oversaw human-resources efforts focused on warehouse workers compared the situation with worker churn at Amazon warehouses to the use of fossil fuels. “We keep using them, even though we know we’re slowly cooking ourselves,” he told The Times.

Amazon representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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