UPS didn’t disclose volume forecasts but it is considered a bellwether of sorts for the general economy. Holiday delivery numbers have been boosted by the shift to online shopping.
In 2013, both UPS and FedEx struggled with unexpected volume, especially close to Christmas, that led to delivery delays. That year, UPS had planned to hire 55,000 seasonal workers but was caught off guard by an increase in last-minute online shipping, as shoppers flocked to offers of free shipping that lasted until a few days before Christmas.
UPS wound up hiring another 30,000 people, but even with the additional help, some last-minute orders were not delivered until after Christmas. The late hires also drove up costs and hurt company profits.
Last year, the company said it would hire 90,000 to 95,000 and actually hired about 100,000.
UPS said seasonal jobs can be an entry point for permanent full- or part-time positions at the company. The company said many senior UPS executives, including CEO David Abney and three other members of the company’s Management Committee, started their UPS careers as part-time employees.
“It was a way to pay my way through college,” said Abney, who started loading trucks at night in March 1974 while studying business. “At the time, I had no idea then that I’d be leading the company someday.”
Adding workers is one of several steps by UPS to get the holiday season right this year. The company is placing surcharges on customers that see a surge in shipping from November to January, though it hasn’t revealed details yet. UPS also plans to expand its Accent Point program, which enables drivers to drop off packages at a neighborhood retailer, instead of a person’s home, with that customer’s permission. The service will be offered in 100 cities about the country from the current five.
Retail chain Target said this week that it expects to hire 70,000 seasonal workers in 2015, in line with the past two years. Wal-Mart, which brought on about 60,000 holiday workers last year, hasn’t disclosed its plans for the current season.
UPS rose 3.6 percent to $100.52 at the close in New York, the biggest one-day jump since July 28. The gain trimmed this year’s decline to 9.6 percent.
The stock also may be increasing in anticipation of FedEx’s first-quarter earnings release Wednesday, Brochmann said. FedEx gained 2.2 percent on Tuesday.