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Originally published Monday, September 30, 2013 at 9:55 PM

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Amazon boosts holiday hiring 40%

The online retail giant plans to add 70,000 full-time seasonal jobs to meet the holiday shopping rush.

Seattle Times business reporter

By the numbers

97,000

Amazon’s full-time and part-time employees, as of June 30.

70,000

The number of full-time seasonal jobs to be added.

50,000

Last year’s seasonal workforce.

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Amazon.com intends to boost its holiday temporary hiring in the United States by 40 percent this year, even as rivals such as Target scale back.

Amazon plans to add 70,000 full-time seasonal jobs in its 45 warehouses in the country for the holidays. Last year, when it had 40 warehouses, it hired 50,000 seasonal workers.

Regionally, Seattle-based Amazon will add hundreds of temporary full-time positions to its Amazon Fresh operations in Bellevue and a larger fulfillment center in Sumner.

Amazon said seasonal employees earn, on average, 94 percent of starting wages of its warehouse workers and are eligible for health-care benefits. And it added that many of the temporary seasonal jobs have historically led to long-term positions.

“So far this year, we have converted more than 7,000 temporary employees in the U.S. into full-time, regular roles and we’re looking forward to converting thousands more after this holiday season,” Dave Clark, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide operations and customer service, said in a statement.

The seasonal hiring numbers don’t include customer-service jobs, which will also increase through the end of the year. As of June 30, Amazon had 97,000 full-time and part-time employees. And in July, the company said it had 20,000 full-time workers at its warehouses.

The company said the hiring has already begun as it staffs up to handle the crush of goods coming into its warehouses to meet shopper demand. It will hire a second wave of temporary help closer to the holidays to ship those products off to customers.

The hiring data is only for the United States. The company recently announced it plans to hire 15,000 seasonal workers for its United Kingdom operations.

Last week, financial advisory and consulting firm Deloitte forecast a modest 4 to 4.5 percent jump in holiday sales in the United States, an increase to between $963 billion and $967 billion.

Amazon’s competitors have been a bit more cautious in their holiday hiring. Target has said it plans to hire about 70,000 temporary workers for the holiday run, 20 percent less than last year. The company said it plans to give current workers more hours during the peak shopping season.

Wal-Mart is increasing its holiday hiring, by 10 percent, to 55,000 workers this year.

Jay Greene: 206-464-2231 or jgreene@seattletimes.com. Twitter: iamjaygreene

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