FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) — Amazon leaders confirmed the company is the secretive subject of “Project Mastodon,” the project slated to be built along US 30 in western Allen County.
So what kind of an economic impact will its 1,000 new jobs have on our area, and what could it do to local small business owners?
“Any time we get new investment in the community, new jobs being created, this is a good thing,” PFW economics professor John Kessler said.
Kessler says the fact that Amazon chose Fort Wayne as the site for its newest fulfillment center shows that the city is doing something right.
“And the fact that we’re in a central location here in northeast Indiana as far as a regional hub makes a lot of sense for distributing into this area,” he said.
However, he says as the coronavirus declines and the economy improves, the labor market will tighten, meaning there will be fewer people available to be hired for the 1,000 fulltme jobs Amazon is offering at its new facility.
Kessler says that’s partly because some people will want to continue to get pandemic-related unemployment benefits, and then look for work once those run out.
“A thousand workers at at least $15 an hour, right now I think that’s going to be tough to fill those jobs because everywhere people are looking for workers. But by the time construction is done, hopefully we’ll be more back on track with the economic recovery and maybe we’ll have more people entering back into the labor force that will be able to fill those positions,” he said.
So what could that do to local small businesses that can’t afford to match that pay rate?
“What we end up having is situations where these smaller companies will look to automation and try to do other things to still meet the demand that they have for their products and services, but with less labor,” Kessler said.
Kessler says in the end, the Amazon jobs will bring about $30 million a year of additional income to the community.