Following a strong holiday selling season, many major warehouse management logistics companies are feeling bullish and have shifted their focus toward hiring new talent. In response to heavy demand from major retailers (including Amazon, who reported its “best ever” holiday season in 2016) warehouses have worked to bolster staffing in hopes sales will continue to roll in into 2017.
Online Retailers Big Month
According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Department of Labor reported transportation and warehousing companies added 14,700 jobs in December 2016, with warehouse and storage companies adding 1,600 jobs from November to December. The Journal characterizes the jump as a response to “a growth in online sales that has seen companies add distribution centers to push goods to consumers at a faster pace.”
This has led online retailers to make bolder plans and expand operations. According to Reuters, Amazon revealed plans to create more than 100,000 jobs in the United States, growing its workforce over 50 percent in early January. Warehouse management logistics divisions are likely to see the most investment and growth, to meet the need for reliable shipping pathways and the construction of at least 16 new United States-based fulfillment centers.
“We view this as a positive signal … of the current trajectory of Amazon’s businesses, as well as management’s confidence,” Baird Equity Research analyst Colin Sebastian told Reuters. Sebastian added that this may have been partially in response to some of the recent statements made by President Donald Trump, who placed emphasis on domestic job creation.
“The president-elect met with heads of several of the tech companies and urged them to keep their jobs and production inside the United States,” Trump transition team spokesman Sean Spicer told the press in January. Still, experts are skeptical about the role that his words may have played in the move. “While there may be some ‘political capital’ involved with the timing and details of Amazon’s announcement,” Sebastian commented, “we suspect there is little, if any, shift of employment at Amazon from international locations to the U.S.”
Strong Logistics Expansion Amidst Slower Overall Growth
Hiring trends prove that strategic warehouse management logistics remain strong, and are now more important than ever before. Even among faltering overall job growth numbers, December saw employment increase by 156,000 jobs, a drop from November’s 204,000 jobs gained.
This also comes as retailers like Amazon more heavily integrate automation and robots into warehouse operations. According to a Supply Chain Dive report, however, this doesn’t seem to be disrupting the human logistics hiring boom. In fact, the Dive states that the hiring of people between the fourth quarter of 2015 and the third quarter 2016 was roughly neck and neck with the implementation of technology. “Even if partly and fully automated warehouses become commonplace, the workforce growth in the logistics sector parallels the increase in technology investments,” wrote Supply Chain Dive’s Edwin Lopez. This can be tied to the rise of alternative warehouses roles being created to work alongside robots, as well as the reliance on third party logistics providers to fulfill the ongoing influx of orders from consumers.
With such a positive outlook for retailers and businesses that rely on warehouse management logistics, this sector is likely to see continued growth. With any luck, logistics will lead the way to a strong economy and lower unemployment rates.
If you need a partner to help you strategically manage and successfully move your products out of the port and onto their final destination, be sure to download our ebook - Speeding Time-to-Shelf and Cutting Costs- a must read for today’s logistics managers.