Amazon signals expansion outside of Seattle

Aug 20, 2020
Written by wpengine

Days after the Seattle City Council passed a tax on highly paid employees of approximately 825 companies with annual payrolls above $7 million, Seattle-based Amazon announced plans to hire 3,500 employees in six out-of-state hub cities.

Amazon intends to hire 2,000 workers in New York City and an additional 1,500 in technology hub cities, including Dallas, Detroit, Denver, Phoenix, and San Diego. In the technology hubs, Amazon will hire software engineers, data scientists and user experience designers to work on cloud computing, advertising, fashion, grocery delivery and related areas.

Meanwhile, Amazon plans to expand its workforce in Bellevue to 15,000. It has also snapped up space in Redmond in the last year.

According to a report by The Seattle Times, Amazon currently lists 6,800 open positions in Seattle, where it employs more than 50,000 people – a tenfold increase in the last decade.

The number of open positions Amazon lists in Seattle is trending down this year. It is down 40% from a recent high in early February, when it had about 11,500 listed.

No one affiliated with Amazon has said whether there is a connection between its new payroll tax and non-Seattle expansion and hiring.

Before the payroll tax vote, Washington Retail also pointed out that the tax could discourage new companies from locating in Seattle. The Downtown Seattle Association also voiced concern that imposing a payroll tax on corporations could discourage them from coming to – or expanding in – Seattle. In the past week, DSA has since called on the Council to repeal the payroll tax, much as it did with an unpopular head tax two years ago.

In another sign of future expansion outside of Seattle, Amazon recently surveyed its employees to gauge their interest in working in other cities in the state. No one has confirmed that the survey was a reaction to the Seattle payroll tax.