Amazon ($NASDAQ:AMZN) took a curious media victory lap last week when it announced to news outlets that it had 30,000 job openings it was looking to fill. And when Bezos and Co. have something to announce, people listen. Within hours, The New York Times exlaimed, "Amazon Has 30,000 Open Jobs. Yes, You Read That Right". CNN went with "Amazon is hiring 30,000 workers. Here's how to find out more." ABC News was a bit more direct: "To fill 30,000 jobs, Amazon plans hiring events in 6 cities."
The news was covered by The New York Times, CNBC, ABC News, USA Today, CNN, CBS, NBC, BusinessInsider, Marketwatch, and Yahoo in what wound up looking more like a great PR campaign for Amazon HR than anything else.
The news run was curious — at least to us here at Thinknum Alternative Data who have been tracking hiring activity at Amazon for years — because Amazon hiring 30,000 people isn't exactly news, nor is it terribly noteworthy. In fact, 30,000 less than what the company was hiring last month, and the company's hiring cadence has slowed.
In August, for instance, Amazon was hiring for nearly 33,000 positions. That dropped to 27,000 by the end of that month before bouncing back to the ballyhooed 30,000 at the beginning of September.
In fact, Amazon has been listing 30,000 openings on its careers sites since last April, a good 5 months of recruiting, and last months dip represents a cut of 16.3% of its job listings. In short: the news about Amazon going on a hiring spree was a bit of a head scratcher.
When looking at change vectors for Amazon's hiring activities quarter over quarter, we see a discernable slowdown in activity. In April 2019, for instance, Amazon job listings were up nearly 21% quarter-over-quarter. As of last quarter, job listings are actually down 22% compared to the previous quarter.
It's not terribly surprising that Amazon is making a PR push for its hiring efforts: the company needs labor, especially in its logistics operations that handle freight, fulfillment, and shipping.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.