ILSR’s Report on Amazon Gets a Big Response in the Press

Date: 25 Jan 2017 | posted in: Media Coverage, Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

November 29th, 2016 – January 23rd, 2017

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When we published Amazon’s Stranglehold: How the Company’s Tightening Grip is Stifling Competition, Eroding Jobs, and Threatening Communities late last year, one thing we hoped the report would do is deepen the media coverage of the company and spur more public debate about the ways Amazon is reshaping the economy and our communities. The response has been remarkably strong. The report has been featured in numerous media stories and has inspired new reporting on the company. Here are a few highlights.

Media Highlights

“A report released this week by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance took a dim view of Amazon’s methods of doing business, arguing that the company’s 46 percent share of the U.S. online retail market is not only stifling competition and displacing retail jobs, but also weakening community bonds.”

— Seattle Post Intelligencer (“Report: Amazon has ‘stranglehold’ on online retail market” by Daniel DeMay, Nov. 29, 2016)

“But, the report’s authors argue, those growing ambitions and Amazon’s control over advertising, shipping, logistics and other aspects of selling online, make it hard for smaller businesses to reach Web shoppers without dealing with Amazon.”

— San Francisco Chronicle: “Amazon criticized for vast online reach and record sales” by Daniel Demay, Nov. 30th, 2016

“A report released this week from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance says…that Amazon’s rise has resulted in the elimination of 149,000 more jobs than the company has created. They also found that wages at the company’s warehouses were 15% less than the pay for similar jobs in 11 metro areas.”

Time Magazine Money (“Amazon is Dominating the Holiday Shopping Season to a Shocking Degree” by Brad Tuttle, Nov. 30th, 2016)

“A new analysis from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit that advocates for local economic development, tries to put a number on just how much Amazon has saved from taxpayer largesse in the United States: $760 million between 2005 and 2014. It’s a figure, according to ILSR’s exhaustive new report, that’s equal to 17 percent of the company’s global profits during that time. And it’s likely an underestimate.”

— Slate (“How Did Amazon Conquer American Retail? $760 Million in Public Money Didn’t Hurt.” by Henry Grabar, Dec. 1st, 2016)

“A scathing new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), which campaigns for sustainable local economies, argues for action to curtail Amazon’s influence. It compares Jeff Bezos to a ’19th-century railroad baron controlling which businesses get to market and what they have to pay to get there,’ and it argues regulators should break up the company, and that states should reduce tax breaks and subsidies that privilege the company over its competitors.”

— Fast Co.Exist (“Is Amazon Killing Jobs and Destroying Communities” by Ben Schiller, Dec. 2nd, 2016)

“ILSR’s report… says Amazon is reshaping the U.S. economy in ways that hurt small businesses, reduce jobs and wages, limit the choices and products available to consumers, and harm the economies of local communities.”

— Cleveland Plain Dealer (“Amazon’s explosive growth endangers small businesses, local stores: study says” by Janet H. Cho, Dec. 3rd, 2016)

“According to a study of Amazon’s community impact by the Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR) the mega-retailer has transformed shopping into an increasingly dehumanized process, while consolidating the labor infrastructure into a giant network of low-wage logistical chains where workers’ economic security shrinks and community-based businesses whither….This isn’t just a nostalgic yearning for simpler times, but a desire for a more humane economy.”

— The Nation (“What Happens to a Town When Amazon Moves In?” by Michelle Chen, Dec. 8th, 2016)

“This thoroughly researched, compellingly written report presents a detailed a view of the growing power of Amazon and the ways it threatens local businesses, workers, and local economies. It’s a must-read.”

Next: Economy (“Amazon: Economic strangler or job creator?” by Tim O’Reilly, Dec. 10th, 2016)

“Yet, beyond the “A to Z” selections offered on Amazon exists the reality that workers, consumers and their communities are suffering from the retailer’s stranglehold on the American economy, researchers at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) say in a study released in late November.”

— Truthout (“$1 of Every $2 Spent Online Goes to Amazon. Can We Break the Company’s Stranglehold?” by Mario Vasquez, Dec. 21st, 2016)

“Recent critiques of Amazon, however, have also focused on something else: the danger posed by the company’s aggressive vertical integration… ‘For other businesses, if you’re a manufacturer, you’re another retailer — you face this really difficult decision,’ Stacy Mitchell says. ‘Do you continue to hang your shingle out on the Web where there’s less and less consumer traffic that’s likely to find you? More and more businesses are having to make a difficult decision to use Amazon’s platform, and that creates this incredible conflict of interest for Amazon.'”

— Pacific Standard (“Amazon, the Monopolist?” by Dwyer Gunn, Dec. 22nd, 2016)

“A new report released last week by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance details Amazon’s effect on local economies…. The 79-page analysis argues that Amazon has monopolized retail to the extent that it has undermined local competition, jobs and wages.”

— Chicago Tonight – PBS WTTW (“Chicago Indie Bookstores Launch Campaign Ahead of Amazon’s Arrival” by Reuben Unrau, Dec. 8th, 2016)

“When subtracting these expenses, [Amazon] drivers often end up earning less than the minimum wage and are denied overtime pay… That description of delivery methods was echoed by Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the advocacy group Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Along with co-author Olivia LaVecchia, Mitchell has just completed a major study of Amazon’s business practices that warns that the giant corporation is killing good jobs in local economies as it seeks to monopolize different sectors of the retail business.”

— In These Times: “Delivery Drivers Sue Amazon over Misclassification, Failure to Pay Overtime and the Minimum Wage” by Bruce Vail, Dec. 12th, 2016

“‘Many of these jobs will be low-paid, short-term, and have high turnover. Some will be temporary positions,’ said Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a research and advocacy group focused on stimulating local economies. ‘Those are not the kind of jobs we need in order to address the economic challenges that so many Americans are facing.’… Earlier this year, Mitchell… co-authored a report on Amazon about the kinds of jobs it creates and the kinds of jobs it destroys. As the New York Times reported Friday, for every position Amazon fills, a greater number of traditional retail jobs are eliminated, undercutting the company’s job creation claims.”

— Buzzfeed News (“Those 100,000 New Amazon Jobs Might Not Be Good For Everyone” by Caroline O’Donovan, Jan. 13th, 2017)

​​”While Amazon has said it would create 100,000 jobs in the United States in 2017, most are low-paying warehouse jobs that offer little job security. Amazon on average pays its warehouse employees 15% less than the average wage of other warehouse workers in the same region, according to Stacy Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a non-profit advocacy group that works on sustainable community development. Most of the jobs had already been announced in the local markets where the warehouses are located….’Given that there’s no real news here, one certainly has to wonder if Amazon’s announcement is mainly aimed at currying favor with President-elect Trump,’ Mitchell says.”

— USA Today (“Companies pile on job announcements to avoid Trump’s wrath” by Chris Woodyard, Jan. 17th, 2017)


“We wanted to pull back the curtain and look at what this company is doing, how it’s changing the economy. And what we found is that it’s having a profound, harmful effect on competition… making it harder and harder for competing retailers and manufacturers to have a level playing field. That has all kinds of implications for consumers and for the dynamism of the economy over the long term.”

— The Capitol Forum (“Amazon: Transcript of Conference Call with Stacy Mitchell on Amazon’s Economic Effects,” Dec. 14th, 2016)

— WORT 89.9FM (Madison) (“The Price Of Online Shopping With Amazon” by A Public Affair, Dec.19th, 2016)

— KALW (San Francisco) (“Your Call: Amazon threatens small businesses and weakens communities, says new report” by Rose Aguilar and Laura Flynn, Dec. 14th, 2016)

—  KOMO News (Seattle) (by Jeff Pohjola, Nov. 30th, 2016)

Additional Coverage

The Huffington Post: “Amazon’s Takeover of the Economy is the Real Threat to American Jobs,” by Emily Peck, Nov. 29th, 2016 [Republished in WoW]

GeekWire: “New study compares Amazon to 19th century robber barons, urge policymakers to break up the online retail giant” by Nat Levy, Nov. 29th, 2016

Local First AZ: “Amazon is Undermining Competition, Small Businesses, and Workers, and Reducing Economic Opportunity and Consumer Choice, New Report Finds” by Erica Fetherston, Nov. 30th, 2016

Forbes: “Amazon’s Growing Stranglehold on the US Economy” by Laura Heller, Nov. 30th, 2016

Newsbold: “Amazon’s Takeover Of The Economy Is The Real Threat To American Jobs” by Newsbold, Dec. 18th, 2016

American Bookseller’s Association:A Holiday Letter From ABA CEO Oren Teicher ” by Oren Teicher, Dec. 20th, 2016

Tame Bay:Report: Amazon is damaging competition, SMEs and consumer choice” by Tame Bay, Dec. 22nd, 2016

Minnpost:Is it even possible to plan for transit to the Shakopee Amazon facility?” Bill Lindeke, Dec. 22nd, 2016

Air Cargo World:Study raises concerns about Amazon’s impact on U.S. economy” by Air Cargo World, Dec. 26th, 2016

Post Online Media:Amazon controls retail infrastructure in U.S., says report” by Post Online Media, Dec. 27th, 2016

Forbes: Amazon Has ‘Best Ever’ Holiday” by Laura Heller, Dec. 27th, 2016

BTN News, Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, & Business Tourism News:Amazon raises competitive stakes” by BTN News, Dec. 28th, 2016

Publisher’s Weekly: “‘Amazon’s Stranglehold’ Co-Author Stacy Mitchell Breaks It Down” by Kenny Brechner, Jan. 5th, 2017

Ted’s Magazine: “Major E-Tailers and Retailers Continue to Make Inroads on the B2B Front” by Bridget McCrea, Jan. 5th, 2017

Chicagoist: “As Amazon Preps Chicago Store, Indie Bookstores Push Back “” by Stephen Gossett, Jan. 5th, 2017

Streets.MN: Podcast #96: The Urban Effects of with Spencer Cox” by Bill Lindeke, Jan. 6th, 2017

Crain’s Cleveland Business Dealer:Success doesn’t always end in dot com” by Douglas J. Guth, Jan. 7th, 2017

Los Angeles Times:Bad news for the Strand? Amazon is opening a brick-and-mortor bookstore in Manhattan” by Agatha French, Jan. 9th, 2017

Phoenix Business Journal:Get a peek inside Amazon Phoenix fulfillment center” by Steven Totten, Jan. 10th, 2017

Independent We Stand:ILSR Report Shows the Real Cost of Amazon’s Success” by Independent We Stand, Jan. 12th, 2017

Plymouth Daily News:Amazon is Bad for U.S. Economy” by Dejan Lesicar, Jan. 13th, 2017

Crain’s Chicago Business:Something else Amazon delivers” by Brigid Sweeney, Jan. 14th, 2017

Reading Eagle: “Experts grapple with challenges of e-commerce” by Jeff McGaw, Jan. 18th, 2017

Good Jobs First: “Amazon’s 100,000-Job Claim: Will Taxpayers Bankroll Retail Job Churn?” by Good Jobs First, Jan. 19th, 2017

Australia News: Amazon launches hiring spree as it prepares for Australian launch” by Dana McCauley, Jan. 23rd, 2017

If you’re interested in receiving updates from ILSR’s Community-Scaled Economy initiative, please sign up here, and follow ILSRStacy Mitchell, and Olivia LaVecchia on Twitter.

Nick Stumo-Langer
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Nick Stumo-Langer

Nick Stumo-Langer was Communications Manager at ILSR working for all five initiatives. He ran ILSR's Facebook and Twitter profiles and builds relationships with reporters. He is an alumnus of St. Olaf College and animated by the concerns of monopoly power across our economy.