Amazon warehouses aren't a good investment, study says | KUOW News and Information

Amazon warehouses aren't a good investment, study says

Feb 1, 2018

Amazon is now contacting its shortlist of places for its next headquarters. The company told applicants who didn’t make the cut that they’ll be considered for future investments by the company.

But a new study from the Economic Policy Institute says places that have already received Amazon investments in warehouses don’t get the growth they bargained for.

All kinds of places have promised Amazon tax incentives in exchange for jobs, but the Economic Policy Institute says it doesn’t work.

The think tank is funded in part by labor unions.

Its research found the jobs created at an Amazon fulfillment center do not lead to an improvement in county employment. The researchers say warehousing jobs do jump by about a third, but that doesn’t translate to real jobs growth for the overall community.

The think tank cautions that the return on public investment isn’t there for hosting warehouses. It says there’s a better return in spending on early-childhood education and infrastructure.

Update 2/1/18 2:20 p.m.

Amazon contacted KUOW following publication of this report, saying in 2016 the company created 200,000 jobs inside Amazon and another 200,000 outside the company.  Amazon also said in the five years ending in 2016, it spent over $100 billion in wages and investment in the U.S. 

The Economic Policy Institute responded to this statement by saying that Amazon's "outside job" creation claims for 2016 seem to be the result of using predictive modeling as opposed to an actual count. Amazon later said the model it used is widely accepted. The upshot: Amazon says its warehouse jobs do have valuable economic impact and EPI says its research indicates little impact.