NEW YORK — Amazon plans to hire 100,000 full time workers over the next 18 months, highlighting its ambitious expansion plans — and the sharp contrast the e-commerce powerhouse strikes against traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, many of which are cutting jobs and closing stores.

Amazon has long been known for investing the money it makes back into its businesses, and it’s doing that with a vengeance. The new hires will largely support new Amazon fulfillment centers in states such as Texas and California, expanded delivery capabilities and its money-minting Amazon Web Services cloud computing business.

The company is building two centers in Aurora, a second center in Joliet and one in Monee. During the past two years, Amazon has announced eight fulfillment centers in Illinois.

The numbers are generally in line with Amazon’s past hiring plans. Amazon, which had a total of 306,800 full-time and part-time employees globally at the end of September, hired a total of 123,700 globally during the 15 months ended in September, according to quarterly filings.

Amazon said Thursday its U.S. workforce has grown from 30,000 in 2011 to over 180,000 at the end of 2016. By comparison, Walmart — the world’s largest retailer — employs about 2.4 million people worldwide, including 1.5 million workers in the U.S.

Baird analyst Colin Sebastian said the announcement shows that Amazon’s hiring appears to be accelerating.

“We view this announcement positively in terms of the current trajectory of Amazon’s businesses, as well as management’s confidence in the long-term outlook,” he said. “The hiring is consistent with our view that Amazon will continue to invest aggressively in its retail, media, technology and logistics businesses.”