UPS plans to hire 100,000 extra workers to handle an epically hectic holiday season

  • UPS will hire 100,000 extra drivers, driver helpers, and package handlers for the holiday season, starting in October.
  • The holiday surge in package volume will start in October as coronavirus upends retail. Usually, the peak season begins in November.  
  • UPS says this holiday season will see record-high package volumes, due to the coronavirus. 
  • UPS saw its biggest-ever jump in package volumes last quarter. 
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UPS is looking for 100,000 employees to deliver and handle an ever-surging volume of packages for this holiday season. 

The temporary employees, who will work from October to January, will mostly serve as package handlers, drivers, and driver helpers. In previous years, more than a third of UPS' seasonal workers have stayed at the company full-time. 

Amid the coronavirus crisis, which has sparked unprecedented online shopping volumes, UPS says this holiday season — called the "peak season" — will see record-high package volumes. "We're preparing for a record Peak holiday season," Charlene Thomas, UPS chief human resources officer, said in a statement this morning. "The COVID-19 pandemic has made our services more important than ever."

UPS saw its biggest-ever jump in package volumes last quarter. The package giant delivered an average of 21,127 parcels worldwide from April to June 2020, a 22.8% bump from the same period last year. In the first six months of 2020, UPS has delivered 15.7% more packages a day than it did last year. 

This holiday season is set to be a test of whether UPS and rival FedEx can turn a profit from these ever-soaring volumes — particularly as Amazon ramps up its own internal delivery network. Mike Lambert, chief operating officer of shipping consultancy Green Mountain Technology, told Bloomberg that UPS, FedEx, and USPS will see package volume soar by up to 70% over last year.

"Peak season" won't just be crazier — it will be longer, starting in October rather than the traditional November. Retailers like Target, Walmart, and Best Buy are forgoing in-store and online sales for Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. Reuters reported that delivery companies have asked those retailers to space out those promotions to ease the strain on their unusually-busy networks.

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