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Amazon Prime to raise yearly membership to what?

If you’re an Amazon Prime user,  get ready to pay a whole lot more for the service.  Monthly rates for customers in the United States will increase beginning this month.

In a press release on Thursday, the company blamed the rise on its expansion but some are pointing out that the mega-company is now the fifth largest in the world with profits to match. Its made owner Jeff Bezos the third-richest person in the world.

The company, which has come under fire for censoring Christians and conservatives, pointed out how it has grown its services.

“Since 2018 in the U.S., availability of Free Same-Day Delivery has expanded from 48 metropolitan areas to more than 90, items available for Prime free shipping have increased over 50 percent and members have saved billions of dollars shopping Prime Day,” Amazon said.

“This is all on top of new program benefits like prescription savings and fast, free delivery from Amazon Pharmacy and the continually growing Amazon Music for Prime members, Prime Reading, and Prime Gaming.”

However, “the continued expansion of Prime member benefits as well as the rise in wages and transportation costs,” means the company is upping prices.

In February, an annual membership will increase by $20 from $119 to $139 and the monthly fee will go up by $2 from $12.99 to $14.99, the company said.

For new Prime members, the price change will go into effect on Feb. 18, while it will change after March 25, for current prime members.

The announcement comes as inflation levels have risen to a 40-year high of 7 percent in the United States, driving up prices for both consumers and businesses.

Meanwhile, a nationwide labor shortage exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic saw many businesses raise employee wages, and implement attractive bonus schemes and competitive compensation in an effort to pull in new workers.

Last year, Amazon raised its average starting wage in the U.S. to more than $18 an hour.

Elsewhere in Thursday’s press release, Amazon also announced financial results for its fourth quarter of 2021, which ended on Dec. 31.

The company made $14.3 billion in net income in the fourth quarter of 2021, compared with $7.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020.

–Wire services