Just as entire communities revolved around the automobile, steel and other industries in the last century, many places in America now depend almost entirely on e-commerce giants like Amazon.
Why it matters: E-commerce has created the new factory town. "The pendulum is swinging back, bringing jobs to places that had been left behind" as manufacturing plants closed down, says Michael Mandel, chief economic strategist at the Democratic-leaning Progressive Policy Institute.
Here's where it's happening:
- Campbellsville, Kentucky, has about 26,000 residents — and 20% of its working population works in e-commerce. That's largely due to two Amazon fulfillment centers.
- Ottawa, Kansas, also a town of about 26,000 people, has 15% of its working population in e-commerce jobs thanks to a pair of big Walmart and American Eagle distribution centers in town.
- Mount Vernon, Illinois, which has long been home to a Walgreens distribution center, has 9.5% of its working population in warehousing jobs.
- And the list goes on with small towns from Texas to Florida to Pennsylvania.
The big picture: While several small towns have high concentrations of warehouse workers, the e-commerce jobs boom seems to be mainly concentrated in big, wealthy cities, says Joe Kane of the Brookings Institution.
Original story: E-commerce thriving in America's shuttered factory towns