UPS expects to hire up to 95,000 seasonal workers

FILE - In this July 22, 2009 file photo, a United Parcel Service (UPS) package is shown. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)

ATLANTA (AP) — UPS plans to hire up to 95,000 workers to help deliver packages during the busy holiday season — an increase from last year, when the company was caught unprepared for a boom in online shopping.

The Atlanta company said Tuesday that the positions will include package sorters, loaders, delivery helpers and drivers.

Last year, UPS underestimated the surge in deliveries during the holiday shipping season, which peaked several days later than the company had expected as shopping jumped at offers of free shipping right up until a few days before Christmas. UPS originally planned to hire 55,000 seasonal workers but wound up adding 30,000 more to handle the surge in deliveries, which drove up costs and reduced earnings.

Even with the additional hiring last year, UPS couldn’t handle all the volume, and some last-minute deliveries were delayed until after Christmas.

Since then, UPS has taken several steps to prepare for this year’s onslaught of deliveries. This includes making improvements to schedule planning, working more closely with its biggest retail customers, installing temporary mobile sorting and delivery centers, and adding thousands of new or leased delivery vehicles, trailers, aircraft and portable loading aids. It is also adding operating days and shifts.

The company said much of this year’s increase in package deliveries will come from online purchases. UPS expects shipments to begin rising in October and remain high through January, as some gifts gets returned or exchanged.

United Parcel Service Inc. said that it will hire between 90,000 and 95,000 workers for the holidays, with wages beginning at $10 per hour. It said that the seasonal jobs have long served as an entry point for permanent employment. Individuals interested in applying for the seasonal positions can do so online at UPSjobs.com.

Rival FedEx Corp. declined to comment on its hiring plans. It hired about 20,000 seasonal workers last year.

Shares of UPS rose 22 cents to $97.84 in midday trading. They began the day down 6 percent for the year, while FedEx shares have gained 7 percent in 2014.

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