Amazon’s dominance has been solidified during the coronavirus pandemic, but the consequences of that are complicated, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Thursday.
“Amazon is either the Grim Reaper for everyone or the greatest thing that’s ever happened to the American consumer. Or maybe both,” Cramer said on “Squawk on the Street.”
“Has Amazon not become a country during this period?” Cramer added, noting Amazon’s dramatic hiring to keep pace with coronavirus-related demand increases while the rest of the U.S. economy has shed 22 million jobs in recent weeks.
Since March, the e-commerce giant has added more than 100,000 new employees, with plans to add another 75,000 to its ranks.
“They’re a juggernaut that just wipes out everybody,” said Cramer, pointing to Amazon’s far-reaching operations into a myriad of sectors. “Look what they’re doing to the drug stores.”
In addition to increasing hiring in response to the pandemic, Amazon has increased pay for workers — and after warehouse workers urged them to do so, expanded its paid-time off policy.
But Amazon also has faced push back from some who argue the company isn’t doing enough to create safe environments for employees who still have to work inside its warehouses. Some workers have staged protests, calling for more protection.
Cramer’s comments Thursday came shortly after Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos released his annual letter to shareholders.
In the letter, Bezos noted some of Amazon’s other efforts around the coronavirus such as giving face masks to employees and distributing temperature checks for warehouse workers, delivery drivers and Whole Foods employees.
“A next step in protecting our employees might be regular testing of all Amazonians, including those showing no symptoms,” Bezos wrote in the letter.
Amazon first announced its efforts to develop a Covid-19 test for workers last week.
Shares of Amazon hit another all-time high on Thursday, rising more than 3% to $2,398 each. On Tuesday, the stock hit its first new high since February. Amazon’s stock is up nearly 30% for the year.
Cramer has recently been talking about how Amazon is among the dominant U.S. companies weathering the pandemic in the “winner-take-all, loser-take-none” stock market.
The “Mad Money” host also talked about being concerned about how the coronavirus-driven halt in the economy could leave the U.S. with only three retailers after the crisis ends: Amazon, Walmart and Costco.
— Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Amazon and Costco. CNBC’s Annie Palmer also contributed to this report.