In anticipation of an increase in the number of holiday packages that U.S. consumers expect to ship this year, parcel-delivery giant UPS says it plans on hiring 55,000 seasonal workers to help keep pace with demand.
The shipping company anticipates delivering more than 120 million packages worldwide this year in just the last week before Christmas, up more than 6 percent compared to the 113 million delivered during the busiest week last year, UPS said Monday.
"Early indications point to a solid holiday shopping and shipping season," said UPS spokesman Alan Gershenhorn in a statement.
UPS said its forecasts call for five days this holiday season that will near or exceed 25 million deliveries. All of those days are within the last 10 days before Christmas. Last year, there was only one day in which deliveries surpassed 25 million, the company said.
The trend toward packages being shipped closer to the holiday reflects consumers' penchant in delaying online purchases until the two weeks before Christmas, UPS said. Prior to consumers' increased use of the Internet to make gift purchases, the peak holiday season stretched from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
The temporary jobs that UPS will be hiring for include driver helpers, package sorters or loaders or "unloaders," the company said.
UPS said that it anticipates its busiest shipping day will be Thursday Dec. 22, when delivery volume will near 26 million packages.
The Atlanta-based company is among the latest of the nation's large employers to announce thousands of seasonal hires. Rival FedEx said last month that it plans to hire 20,000 workers, while big-box retailers, including Target, Best Buy and Kohl's, have said that they plan to hire tens of thousands more.
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