Amazon doubles fulltime hires at local warehouse

When Delaware announced Amazon.com was building its second Delaware (Home of Tax-Free Shopping) warehouse, in Middletown (pop. 19,000, near the Maryland state line), last year, the company said it would hire 850 fulltimers within 3 years.

But today, Gov. Jack Markell's office said Amazon now employs more than 1,600 fulltime permanent workers at the site "and expects to continue hiring." (Amazon has said it also plans thousands of temporary Christmas season hires. The company built its first-anywhere distribution center in New Castle, Del., in 1997, and has lately built at least three more in east-central Pennsylvania, and dozens more in other non-urban areas around the country.)

Too bad all this hiring isn't helping Middletown pay its bills: Moody's cut Middletown's credit rating yesterday, and threatened to cut it again, as a result of flat town revenues and rising municipal spending costs. Delaware and Middletown gave Amazon more than $8 million in incentives to locate there. So far, Middletown officials haven't commented on Wall Street's vote of decreasing confidence in the town's financial future.

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