Trending:Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to step down this year, replaced by AWS chief Andy Jassy in stunning turn for tech giant

That’s a lot of interviews.

Amazon brought on a whopping 500,000 workers in 2020 to help the tech giant meet increasing demand for its online shopping and cloud computing services, fueled by the pandemic.

The Seattle company now employs nearly 1.3 million people, adding more than 170,000 workers in the holiday quarter alone. Its headcount is up 63% from the year-ago period. The latest numbers were part ofAmazon’s fourth quarter earnings reportthat broke revenue records and blew past analyst expectations.

Amazon’s current total headcount is actually larger the figures noted above, as they do not include hundreds of thousands of seasonal and contract workers.

At the outset of the pandemic, Amazon hiked hourly pay for workers confronting the coronavirus crisis by $2 an hour and doubled overtime pay. The company extended the pay increases twice, through April and May,before ending it in June.

Amazon in Junesaidit would pay $500 million in bonuses to frontline workers and delivery partners. It alsogavea $300 holiday bonus to frontline workers in December.

Conditions for Amazon warehouse workers have been the subject of scrutiny and criticism from employee activists and politicians. Amazon has implementedsafety measuresin warehouses and fulfillment centers to help manage COVID-19 cases, andis conducting thousands of tests per day. More than 700 employees are being tested every hour, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said today a call with analysts. The company has done more than 1 million tests to date.

Amazon incurred another $4 billion in costs related to COVID-19 initiatives in the fourth quarter; total costs for 2020 came in at more than $11.5 billion. That cost includes expenditures to help keep employees safe; additional pay for workers; and for additional delivery capacity.

Amazon in 2018raised its minimum wage to $15/hourfor its U.S. workers, after facing pressure to boost compensation in its fulfillment centers and other facilities.

Amazon is pushing to get its frontline workers vaccinated. Last month itsent a letter to President Joe Biden, offering to help with the country’s vaccination efforts.

The company’s stock is up more than 60% since March and was trading at around $3,380 on Thursday before the market closed. Amazon’s market capitalization has risen to $1.7 trillion, right behind Microsoft,which also beat earnings expectations last week. They trail Apple ($2.2 trillion) for the title of most valuable publicly-traded U.S. company.

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