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Retail Indicators Branch, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

As e-commerce sales spiked during the pandemic, backroom warehouse labor rose to meet the demand.

Why it matters: With more Americans employed in the warehouse sector, the quality of those jobs — and the effect automation will have on them — will be increasingly important.

By the numbers: E-commerce sales rose to more than $211 billion in the second quarter of 2020 as the pandemic shifted consumers online.

  • That represented an all-time high of 16.1% of total retail.
  • Though total e-commerce and the percentage of all sales fell slightly by the end of 2020 as the pandemic slowed somewhat, e-commerce sales were still up more than 5,000% from when tracking began at the end of 1999.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

Behind the scenes: Employment in warehouses and storage — the backbone of the e-commerce industry — rose to more than 1.4 million workers by last month, more than double the total from a decade ago.

Go deeper

Feb 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Ohio sues Census Bureau over delay in releasing redistricting data

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Ohio on Thursday sued the Census Bureau over its decision to delay the release of redistricting data by six months.

Driving the news: Citing the coronavirus pandemic, the Census Bureau announced earlier this month that it will not release the data states use to draw legislative maps until the end of September. The deadline was previously March 31.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.

Feb 26, 2021 - Podcasts

DoorDash CEO Tony Xu on his company's post-pandemic future

DoorDash's business boomed in the pandemic, becoming a literal lifeline to many. Now it faces big questions as restaurants reopen.

Axios Re:Cap talks to CEO Tony Xu about the future of his company and the broader restaurant and e-commerce industries.