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‘Amazon Effect’ Is Hiking Pay and Fueling Land Rush in U.S.

There are more jobs for forklift drivers, but fewer diners at the local BBQ joint.
Hire Dynamics CEO Larry Feinstein at a fulfillment center in Braselton, Ga.

Hire Dynamics CEO Larry Feinstein at a fulfillment center in Braselton, Ga.

Photographer: Melissa Golden for Bloomberg Businessweek

On a recent weekday morning, a handful of job seekers were filling out applications at desktop computers in the Jefferson, Ga., office of Hire Dynamics, a staffing company with several locations across the South. All were there to tap the warehouse boom in Jackson County, about 50 miles northeast of Atlanta. Since 2015, at least 31 e-commerce fulfillment centers and other distribution depots have opened or are under development. The list of arrivals includes Amazon.com, Williams-Sonoma, and FedEx.

Larry Feinstein, chief executive officer of Hire Dynamics, says the local labor market was already tight when Amazon.com Inc. opened a 1,000-person fulfillment center in the county last year. “Amazon comes in and sucks up all the labor,” says Feinstein, whose recruiters are scrambling to hire 40 people a day for a warehouse operated by Carter’s Inc., a maker of baby and children’s clothing. “Every one of our clients up there has raised their pay rates at least $2.”