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There are now only about 550 people working at one cavernous warehouse, which is about as big as two Staples Centers combined. Many of them sit behind computer screens, monitoring the activities of the facility's true workhorses: robotic machines. It's a sign of things to come.
In the last five years, online shopping has produced tens of thousands of new warehouse jobs in California, many of them in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The bulk of them paid blue collar people decent wages to do menial tasks — putting things in boxes and sending them out to the world.
But automated machines and software have been taking up more and more space in the region’s warehouses, and taking over jobs that were once done by humans. Today, fewer jobs are being added, though some of them pay more.
Amazon, one of the biggest dogs in warehousing, has built 20 new fulfillment centers outfitted with robotics in the last three years, four in California. Since 2014, the company has added 50,000 warehouse workers nationwide — and more than 30,000 robots.
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