Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Race for Amazon

The Race for Amazon

Emily Hoffins

Innovation and convenience provided by businesses such as Amazon have been a turning point in how consumers obtain their goods. Following its major growth in popularity, Amazon now is looking to expand from their original headquarter in Seattle by building a second headquarter in another city. With the second headquarters, Amazon is proposing to invest $5 billion and create 50,000 jobs in the metro area they choose. These fiscal and employment benefits have led many of the major (and minor) metros in the United States to join in the competition of enticing Amazon to consider their location as the new hometown for it’s 2nd headquarters.
During an office campaign process, city officials will often promise job opportunities and economic growth to their potential supporters. In cases where there is a high unemployment rate, leaders of major metropolises will go to extreme measures to try and employ a majority of their citizens so they can reach maximum economic efficiency. Naturally, when a major opportunity, such as the Amazon deal, is proposed leaders of the cities are eager to gain the attention of Amazon reps.
Representatives from St. Louis have tried encouraging Amazon to come to Missouri by advertising that they ‘desperately need’ the jobs. Missouri itself does not have one of the highest unemployment rates, but St. Louis officials argue they need more opportunity for the increasing unemployed individuals in their specific area. Other states have used unemployment as a persuading point as well.
There is a correlation between the states that have high unemployment rates and those rallying for Amazon to come to them. And that’s not surprising. With the job opportunities promised by Amazon, the company could be the answer to solving many of the unemployment issues in area they chose to go to. With unemployment high in a variety of areas, cities looking to attract Amazon decision makers also highlights other advantages to sweeten the deal of what their region has to offer. Representatives from Albuquerque, New Mexico are hoping that not only their abundant workforce but also their affordable land will help put their city in the running.  
Dan Gilbert, a billionaire from detroit, participated in this hunt to gain Amazon’s attention by tweeting a video advertising Detroit as an ideal city for the new headquarter. A different Detroit representative has approached the campaign for their city by admitting that while Detroit has a grungy stigma and reputation for a high crime rate, they are looking to showcase a side of Detroit that many people don’t get to see. Detroit used the video to give a glimpse into the potential excitement and environment they are hoping will pull Amazon to build there.
In contrast to Detroit advertising themselves through social media, Tucson has tried to bribe Amazon by sending them a Cactus as a glimpse into the exciting environment they could join.
The gift was gracefully rejected; but Tucson’s Joe Snell, a business and economic leader in the city, thought he achieved his goal of getting Amazon’s attention.
An abundance of new jobs and money being invested in the selected city is enticing to many metro area officials, but an economist at the University of Minnesota sees the commotion as blackmail arguing that Amazon has to pick a city anyway and they most likely already have a select few in mind. However, he does understand that all city officials have the same goal: to bring jobs and other related opportunities to their cities. Amazon is proposing to bring a huge economic growth opportunity, leaving city officials no choice but to advocate for their cities.

Works Cited
Ainsworth, Mara MacDonald Amber. “Dan Gilbert Uses New Hype Video to Push for Amazon Headquarters to Come to Detroit.” WDIV, 2017, www.clickondetroit.com/news/dan-gilbert-pushes-for-amazon-headquarters-to-come-to-detroit-with-new-video.
Bowles, Nellie. “Nothing Is Too Strange for Cities Wooing Amazon to Build There.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/09/25/technology/wooing-amazon-second-headquarters.html?rref=collection/sectioncollection/business-economy.
Cohen, Nick Wingfield And Patricia. “Amazon Plans Second Headquarters, Opening a Bidding War Among Cities.” The New York Times, The New York Times, July 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/09/07/technology/amazon-headquarters-north-america.html.
Emily Badger, Quoctrung Bui And Claire Cain Miller. “Dear Amazon, We Picked Your New Headquarters for You.” The New York Times, The New York Times, Sept. 2017, www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/09/upshot/where-should-amazon-new-headquarters-be.html.
“Unemployment Rate By HBCU State – April 2017.” Unemployment Rate By HBCU State – April 2017 |, Apr. 2017, hbcumoney.com/2017/06/04/unemployment-rate-by-hbcu-state-april-2017/.


  1. Amazon is a good example that would reduce the unemployment rate. I feel that Amazon should go to to a place where there are many people like California or even Texas. These are places were businesses run better as there are many people that need work. In small places like Tennessee, all people have jobs and there are less people in small states so if Amazon was to go to a small state then Amazon wouldn't be able to get many workers.

  2. In comparison to the controversial Foxconn decision, I would much more readily agree with these cities in courting Amazon. Both projects promise to bring tens of thousands of jobs and investment into the area; however, as a HQ Amazon would produce far less waste compared to a factory. Furthermore, the jobs at Amazon will be less susceptible to mechanization, and thus be more sustainable in the long-run.

    1. I agree, while there are similarities between the Foxconn situation and this one, I see the Amazon deal as much more appealing. I also think by not narrowing it down to a couple of cities right off the bat Amazon is, in fact, doing the right thing. They are giving cities all over the nation a chance make their case as to why they would be the perfect landing spot. Stated in the conclusion was mention of blackmail by Amazon but I believe that is the furthest thing from the truth.

  3. It would be interesting to know exactly what kinds of jobs Amazon would be bringing. Being a headquarters it would most likely bring more administrative jobs, unlike the Amazon facility in Kenosha which is focused on technical skills for transporting goods.The outlook of these specific jobs will definitely play a role in Amazon's decision for a city. In addition, short-term jobs would also be created from the construction of such a building, prior to the long-term jobs for Amazon.

  4. I'm interested in seeing the other side of this coin; many cities want amazon for the potential jobs, but are there also downsides to having an amazon headquarters that are being ignored? I would be surprised if nobody lost out from amazon coming in to a city. However, it seems obvious that the net benefits far outweigh the net disadvantages for cities that have high unemployment rates.

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  6. The opportunities for job growth and and lowering of the unemployment rate as you stated in the post are obvious benefits for having Amazon move their second headquarters to a city, however one thing that has often been brought up in the discussion of whether or not cities should bid for the chance is the possibility in the rising of economic inequality if the second headquarters were to be built in the second city in question. Many sources reporting on the momentous event have mentioned that there might be housing crises (due to higher rent costs), issues of over gentrification, and a higher population growth that some places might not be ready to handle without much preparation. While the benefits might ultimately end up outweighing the costs it is imperative that city officials that are bidding for this coveted status must take into consideration the possible ramifications that might happen if Amazon were to move their second headquarters to their city.


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