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How the Warehouse Boom Changed the Way America Looks, Lives, and Works

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As the United States emerged from the Great Recession, cheap real estate and the rise of e-commerce collided to create a warehousing boom.

Construction skyrocketed when Amazon and others began building million-square-foot distribution centers. Since 2011, over 2.3 billion square feet of new warehouse space has come to market. This is enough space to comfortably accommodate her 3.5 in Manhattan.

Past industrial booms have produced coal nations, steel cities and oil towns. Now, with warehouse boom towns booming in places like California’s Inland Empire, Pennsylvania’s Lehigh County, and Columbus, Ohio, the number of warehouse workers has nearly tripled in his decade.

Here, Insider explores how the rise of warehouses and warehouse work has transformed the United States and its citizens into a warehouse nation.

Warehouse Nation guide

Warehouses and employers like Amazon bring new jobs and higher wages to some blue-collar workers, but they can be tough on cities and human bodies.

Rapid increase in warehouse work

Insiders used data and field reports to highlight opportunities and hidden costs from increased warehouse operations.

Continue reading “Warehouse Nation”

Insider looks at how the warehouse boom reshaped America.


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series editor: Jake Swearingen, Lily Katzman, Alex Davis, Drake Bear
Editor: Hannah Alberts, Eric Bates, Amanda Cantrell, Gloria Dawson, Alice Kalish, Monica Melton, Hayley Peterson, Josie Rhodes, Stephanie Russell-Craft, Bertie Scott, Graham Starr, Cady Thompson , Zack Tracer, Albert Yuen
reporter: Alex Bitter, Emma Cosgrove, Robert Davis, Tom Dotan, Dan Geiger, Aki Ito, Julianna Kaplan, Catherine Long, Nancy Luna, Andrew Morsman, Kelsey Neubauer, Alex Nicol, Jenny Powers , Sindhu Sunder, Daniel Walker
copy editor: Kevin Kaplan, Jonan Brady, Nick Siwek, Jonas Dominguez

researchBy: Hannah Beckler, Andy Kiers, Walter Hickey, Elisa Shu

design, development, art: Sky Gould, Jenny Chan-Rodriguez, Kazi Awal, Shayan Gal, Taylor Tyson, Annie Hu, Tien Le, Rebecca Zisser

video producer: Robert Leslie, Katie Nixdorf, Noah Lewis, Catherine Long

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Jobel Tamayo, Giorgio Litto

photo editor: Hollis Johnson, Crystal Cox, Erica Ramirez

photographer: Tariq Talley, Vincent Gonzalez, Giorgio Litto, Jobel Tamayo

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