Amazon spent more than $129 billion in Washington state between 2010 and 2020, according to the company’s latest annual economic impact report, released Wednesday.
The e-commerce behemoth’s spend in Washington dwarfs its footprint in every other U.S. state, and makes up nearly 25% of Amazon’s overall $530 billion investment in the country over that 10-year period, according to the report.
While it’s not surprising that Amazon has invested so much in the state where it’s headquartered, and where it employs more than 60,000 high-paid corporate and tech employees, the extent to which Amazon upped its commitment to the state in just the past two years was startling.
The company spent nearly $54 billion in Washington state in 2019 and 2020 alone, according to previous versions of Amazon’s economic impact report — more than the $34 billion it spent in the home of its second headquarters, Virginia, between all of 2010 and 2020.
In a news release announcing the report, Amazon touted its contribution to the U.S. economy and its $15 starting wages for hourly employees — an implicit rebuke to the growing number of federal and state officials who see the company’s sway over the e-commerce sector as harming American business.
And in Washington state, not every resident has viewed the influx of Amazon cash and jobs as an unalloyed good. Attendant upon Amazon’s expansion from an upstart online bookseller to a global tech and retail titan have been concerns about housing costs, homelessness and changes to the cultural fabric of the city.
Amazon’s hefty spend in Washington state encompasses salaries and benefits for the company’s 80,000 employees here, logistics costs, as well as expenditures on real estate — including huge towers in transformed-by-Amazon South Lake Union and Bellevue. Amazon’s growing warehouse network and physical retail footprint also are included in the calculation: By the company’s count, it now operates 27 warehouses, 11 Whole Foods stores, one customer service call center and 15 other Amazon-branded storefronts in Washington.
Amazon estimates its presence in Washington state has generated an additional $112 billion for the local economy and supports more than 258,000 jobs on top of its direct hires. All told, Amazon’s economic output contributed roughly 4.5% of the state’s total economic activity between 2010 and 2020, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Meanwhile, as Amazon pulls tens of thousands of highly paid tech and corporate workers to the Seattle area, the company has been accused of distorting housing markets, adding traffic — and not paying its fair share. A payroll tax passed last year on large companies, including Amazon, aimed in part to undo some of those perceived inequities. The tax is slated to generate more than $200 million annually for housing and homelessness services.