Exclusive: Amazon hikes its starting wage to $18/hr

Amazon has raised its average starting wage to more than $18 dollars an hour in the United States.

That’s according to a company executive who exclusively spoke to Reuters and also revealed Amazon plans to hire 125,000 more warehouse and transportation workers.

Dave Bozeman is vice president of Amazon Delivery Services, he says the wage hike is an answer to a fiercely competitive job market.

"I like to say we take our responsibility s an employer seriously. And so when we look at it, we want to make sure we're offering great jobs with great salaries and so increasing to an average of 18 dollars and again, up to twenty two dollars and fifty cents in some areas. And I would also add plus three thousand dollars signing bonuses in certain areas.”

The fatter paycheck shows how big employers are desperate to draw workers in an increasingly tight U.S. labor market.

Fewer Americans are seeking jobless claims just as openings have hit a record in the reopening economy.

Bozeman says the new workers will help run 100 logistics facilities Amazon’s launching this month in the United States.

Some of those jobs will also help with an effort long in the works to roll out one-day delivery for members of the company’s Prime loyalty club.

“The one day delivery is just part of our network, and while some of these jobs will certainly feed our network in order to fulfill that, it's also going to be fulfilling our entire network and again, their full and part time jobs.”

Amazon’s news comes after a period of increased scrutiny of its labor practices.

A failed effort by some staff in Alabama to organize this year put on display Amazon’s taxing warehouse work and aggressive stance against unions.

After that battle, then-CEO Jeff Bezos said the company needed a better vision for employees.