In a scenario as dire as that, Amazon’s moves this week could prove presciently symbolic for a permanent transfer of traditional jobs at local small businesses to unreliable, part-time work for tech giants that distribute products and services through online platforms — the “Amazonification” of our economy.
This Amazonification is already underway. The consumer shift to online retailers away from meatspace malls and boutique shops has been the subject of hand-wringing and prognostication for years, and, if anything, the evolution was moving slower than many feared. Walmart, after all, remained the world’s largest retailer long after fears of Amazon’s dominance had become mainstream. Warehouse automation, a key goal of Amazon, was advancing but not yet leaving humans out in the cold by any stretch of the imagination. Yet Amazon caught up in 2019, and if anything, this coronavirus-fueled surge may accelerate its supremacy over the retail market.
While 100,000 new Amazon jobs will have a minuscule impact on a soaring unemployment rate, it’s what the shift symbolizes that’s of note.