Why Amazon Warehouses in Iowa Sit Empty and Unused
Amazon's two latest Iowa fulfillment warehouses sit empty and unused. It certainly isn't what the company promised when it announced it would build the warehouses and employ hundreds of Iowans. What went wrong?
Back in January, Amazon told the city of Council Bluffs that the company planned to hire 500 workers to staff their new warehouse which they planned to open in late 2022, according to the Des Moines Register. Construction finished this spring, but since then the parking lot has remained empty. Just like the warehouse. There are still a few months remaining in the year, so technically Amazon could still come through. The Register reports that Amazon stated they would announce hiring at least 30 days prior to the warehouse opening. That has yet to happen.
Council Bluffs isn't alone in their frustration. The Register reports that Amazon has canceled or closed 66 warehouses this year. Projects that are listed as 'on hold' include Davenport, where the company told leaders they planned on hiring 1,000 new employees. That facility was supposed to open this year. It has now been pushed back to 2024. So why the delays?
The Register reports that Amazon greatly expanded its footprint across the country following the online shopping surge brought on by the COVID pandemic. But consumers are spending less online now, and Amazon actually reported a quarterly loss at the beginning of the year for the first time in nearly two decades. The losses continued in the second quarter. The Register reports that Amazon leaders are blaming the loss on what they call 'overcapacity', or paying for more warehouse space than the company needs. That means that there are going to be some fancy Amazon warehouses sitting empty for a while.