March 23, 2020 / 7:11 PM / 11 days ago

Instacart to add 300,000 gig workers in coronavirus-driven hiring

(Reuters) - Instacart said on Monday it plans to hire 300,000 gig workers over the next three months, more than doubling its current base, as demand surges for grocery delivery services due to the coronavirus pandemic forcing people to shop from home.

The hiring is huge compared to those announced by major retailers. Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) said last week it would hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the United States to deal with a surge in online orders.

Walmart Inc (WMT.N) said it would hire more than 150,000 hourly workers through the end of May in its stores and fulfillment centers.

Instacart said order volumes had risen over 150% in the last few weeks as the rapidly spreading virus, which has infected nearly 35,000 people in the United States, has forced states to impose lockdowns and fueled stockpiling of bread, milk, toilet paper, hand sanitizer and other household items.

The San-Francisco based company, which currently has over 200,000 “shoppers”, plans on doing most of the hiring in California and New York.

The hiring spree comes as scores of Americans are laid off or furloughed as companies, especially in the services sectors, grapple with the effects of restrictions on travel.

Economists polled by Reuters estimate weekly figures of U.S. jobless claims, due on Thursday, to balloon by 750,000.

Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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