California economy gets the one-two punch from Amazon

150 150 Cheryl Getuiza

(photo credit: Adriana Hernandez, City of Patterson)

Powerful and effective–if done right. That’s what happens when a boxer delivers a one-two punch to his opponent.

The same could be said for online retail giant Amazon with two fulfillment centers, located in central California, and the jobs it’s creating in the region.

Patterson was lucky enough to be the second city in the state chosen for a center. Although construction on the site is not yet completed, Amazon has begun hiring for hundreds of open positions.

“We want to get our residents, who are not working, into these good-paying jobs,” said Mayor Luis Molina. “Amazon recently held two informational sessions for potential employees. They got the HR point of view–what to expect–and also heard from current employees who spoke on video. Since all applications are done online, we, as a city, wanted to support our residents to make sure they were getting all of the resources necessary to apply.”

The one-million-square-foot facility will handle large item shipments. The bulk of the jobs will be hourly positions on the warehouse floor.

The online retail giant isn’t saying just how many jobs will be available just that they will hire “hundreds and hundreds.”

“I tell folks in the community that Amazon is keeping their information close to their vests,” said Molina.

At this point, it doesn’t really matter what the actual number of jobs will be because “hundreds and hundreds” will make a big dent in the local economy, as Patterson’s current unemployment rate is 16.8 percent.

The center was slated to open in the spring, but now looks to be ready late summer or early fall.

“I don’t think Amazon will let the holiday shopping season go by. I expect the distribution center to be up and running well before the holidays. Once it opens it will not only be great for the city of Patterson, but for the county of Stanislaus as well,” said the mayor.

Less than 30 miles north of Patterson, is the city of Tracy and Amazon’s third and final (for now) distribution center.

Amazon is currently accepting applications for hundreds of positions. City leaders are working with the San Joaquin County WorkNet to help the community during this process.

“Amazon will provide excellent employment opportunities for Tracy residents,” said John Solis, executive director of San Joaquin County WorkNet. “We look forward to a long-term and prosperous partnership with Amazon as well.”

Mayor Brent Ives said the Tracy fulfillment center is expected to open in late September or early October.

City leaders and residents are excited to Amazon chose Tracy for a fulfillment center. It’s not only bring lot of jobs but name recognition as well.

“Tracy citizens are quite excited about having Amazon as a neighbor, business and job creator in town.” said Ives. “I cannot go anywhere in town without someone mentioning what a great thing this is for Tracy. City leaders are of course glad that the sales tax generated by the facility will help the City coffers substantially and allow us to provide the levels of service to which Tracy citizens have become accustom to, even in the face of a challenging economy.”

The mayor said the city is attracting attention from other companies for re-location or expansion because of the Amazon center.

“We have needed to hire more economic development staff to keep up with the excitement generated about Tracy as a prime location for business in northern California,” said Ives.

The Fortune 500 company’s net sales increased by 27 percent in 2012 to just over $61 billion, compared with $48 billion in 2011. The growth in fulfillment jobs helped the company climb over 90,000-employee mark this year, a 39 percent increase over this time last year.

Talking to the Patterson team last year, we asked how the city was picked and their answer was making a long-term plan to be shovel-ready for companies looking to expand.

The California Economic Summit has been going two years now to identify regional successes like Patterson’s and bring priorities from all over the state to the statewide Summit. The second annual event will be held in Los Angeles November 7 and 8. The Summit process is a collaboration of California Forward and the California Stewardship Network.


Cheryl Getuiza

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