Amazon’s 100,000-Job Claim: Will Taxpayers Bankroll Retail Job Churn?

Amazon last week announced it will “create” 100,000 jobs as it rolls out Same-Day Delivery to customers throughout the country. While it’s great publicity after the company received negative tweets from the President-elect, taxpayer shouldn’t be fooled into thinking this represents net job creation in retailing.

Indeed, consider the long list of retail chains that have announced  hundreds of store closings and mass layoffs the past several years: Macy’s, Sears, Kmart, The Limited, American Apparel, Lowe’s, Fossil, A & P, Walmart and many regional chains.

As retailing goes increasingly online, there’s growing skepticism about Amazon’s overall impact on the economy: in the last four years, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers have reduced their workforce by 200,000 jobs. Together with Amazon’s growth, that’s “job churn.” When job creation at Amazon is weighed against job losses at traditional retailers, the Institute on Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) estimates a net loss of 149,000 jobs.

Yet public officials  want to treat the Amazon jobs as “new:” and shower the company with subsidies. Indeed, since our December report detailed subsidies given Amazon since 2015 alone at almost a quarter billion dollars, at least four more Amazon facilities have received taxpayer bucks, paying the company to fulfill its stated business plan:

  • In Fresno, California, Amazon (and the developer of the site) were awarded property tax incentives worth up to $30 million for jobs that pay less than $15 an hour on a site that the city already spent $12 to $15 million making ready for development.
  • In Aurora, Illinois, Amazon apparently received some $13 million in EDGE Tax Credits.
  • In Livonia, Michigan, Amazon was awarded some $7.5 million.
  • In Cecil County, Maryland, Amazon was approved for a $1.3 million in loans.

It’s time for state and local governments to stop shelling out to Amazon!