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Amazon unveils new hiring spree

Amazon has been building new fulfilment centres close to customers to hasten delivery of online orders.

Amazon.com

SAN FRANCISCO - Amazon.com Inc. unveiled a new hiring spree on Monday ahead of a visit by President Barack Obama to one of the Internet retailer's giant distribution warehouses this week.

Amazon said it is looking to fill more than 5,000 new full-time jobs at 17 of its fulfilment centres across the United States. That's roughly a 25 percent increase in full-time fulfilment centre staff, which currently number more than 20,000 in the country.

Amazon needs a lot of workers to pick, pack and ship orders alongside high tech robots that whiz around its warehouses. The company's demand for employees is so strong that it has created special programs to woo candidates.

Last year, Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos announced a Career Choice programme that pays thousands of dollars for warehouse employees to take technical and vocational courses in high-demand areas including engineering, information technology, transportation and accounting.

Amazon made its latest hiring push as President Obama is due to visit a company fulfilment centre in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Tuesday to speak about jobs in the United States.

The President will discuss proposals to jumpstart private sector job growth and make America more competitive, according to a White House spokeswoman.

Earlier this month, Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. ended their lawsuit over who has the right to use the "app store" name, clearing the way for both companies to use it.

In recent months Amazon.com Inc has been planning a major roll-out of an online grocery business that it has been quietly developing for years, targeting one of the largest retail sectors yet to be upended by e-commerce.

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