(photo credit: John Guenther)
It’s the kind of news any inland California region would love to hear—online retail giant Amazon is expanding once again in the Golden State, bringing the total number of fulfillment centers here to four.
This time, Amazon didn’t go far for its newest home. It’s a familiar area. The city of Moreno Valley to the east of Los Angeles in the Inland Empire is the lucky new recipient of a 1.2 million square-foot fulfillment center.
“We are excited to grow our presence in the great state of California, bringing more than 1,000 new full-time jobs to Moreno Valley to join the thousands of Californians we employ currently in our fulfillment centers in Patterson, San Bernardino and Tracy,” said Mike Roth, Amazon’s vice president of North America operations.
This is more than great news for the Inland Empire (IE), which includes Riverside and San Bernardino counties where the November unemployment rate was 9.6 and 9.1 percent, respectively. At the same time, the kind of jobs Amazon brings to this region is important to its long-term economic growth.
“We have amongst the highest unemployment rates in the country in this area, for a large region,” said John Husing, chief economist for the Inland Empire Economic Partnership. “For the IE one of the crucial needs is to have jobs that allow people who are not that well educated to get started on climbing skill ladders up to the middle class.”
And having a fulfillment center adds value to the IE’s logistics sector, an industry that continues to grow and thrive.
The Amazon facility, located in San Bernardino, opened its doors just before Christmas 2012. It has 1,400 employees and hires hundreds more seasonal workers.
Having two fulfillment centers in the IE will not only create more jobs, but they will make the region more attractive to other companies looking to expand.
“This is the place where fulfillment facilities can be located and can do well because the biggest advantage we have in the IE, in Southern California, is that we have space. These companies are coming because they have to,” said Husing.
In the meantime, the city of Patterson, the location of the first Amazon fulfillment center, is seeing the same success. The center opened and shipped its first order in September and is playing a vital role in the city.
“They have hired several hundred full-time employees, and the facility is operating seven days a week. Local restaurants and shops are seeing increased business and Patterson’s profile has been raised by having Amazon locate here,” said Rod Butler, Patterson’s city manager.
“We are excited to hear that Amazon is making further investments in California.”
And not too far away, officials in the city of Tracy say Amazon has plans to bring more jobs. The effect of the center there has officials singing the retail giant’s praises.
“Tracy is blessed to have this center here,” said Brent Ives, Tracy’s mayor. “They are already looking at expanding here by another 20 percent and that simply means more employees for the Tracy region. So, what I believe to be hundreds of jobs that were created before this season, will become thousands of jobs by next season. A mayor couldn’t ask for more. We continue to see great benefits for the company, our City and our people here through our association with this great company.”
“I am happy to see the Moreno Valley area will get to experience something similar and know they will benefit from their association with Amazon as well.”
2014 is already looking brighter for the state of California. Remaining competitive by rolling out the red carpet to companies looking to expand here must continue to be a priority for leaders up and down the state.