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FedEx to hire 55,000 workers as e-commerce takes over the holidays

FedEx has announced that it will hire 55,000 seasonal workers to handle an increase in shipping volume this holiday season. FedEx's expected holiday business season has grown thanks to the growing prevalence of shopping online. 

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    Packages are sorted on a conveyer belt before being loaded onto trucks for delivery at a FedEx facility in Marietta, Ga (Dec 14, 2014).
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The holiday season might be bringing retailers more cheer than expected, and FedEx has announced it will hire 55,000 seasonal workers to handle an increase in holiday shipping.

FedEx, the operator of the largest cargo airline and ground shipping network in the United States, is making the hires to help meet the estimated 12 percent increase in a shipping orders this holiday season. The number of temporary workers that will be hired, 55,000, is about 10 percent more than the previous year, FedEx spokesman Tim Miller told Bloomberg.

The company expects an immense holiday season and at least three spikes in shipping volumes – Cyber Monday and the first two Mondays of December. According to Reuters, the company expects to handle 317 million shipments between Black Friday and Christmas Eve.

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The National Retail Federation (NRF) has predicted that traditional retail sales in November and December will increase 3.7 percent this year. Online sales are expected to more than double that growth and increase between 6 and 8 percent. That projection, along with the drastic increase hiring from FedEx and e-retailers like Amazon, is a testament to e-commerce's strengthening hold on the holiday shopping season.

“FedEx expects to see a record number of shipments move through our global network between Black Friday and Christmas Eve,” said FedEx CEO Frederick W. Smith in a company statement. “The shift in consumer shopping patterns, fueled by the rise of e-commerce, continues to drive our volume.”

The rise of e-commerce has caused unexpected problems for both FedEx and their main competitor United Parcel Service (UPS) in past years. An estimated 2 million packages were left undelivered last year on Christmas Eve between both companies. However, the increase in volume has prompted investments from the shipping giants to improve their ground and air infrastructure. FedEx has invested $1.6 billion in improving their services, according to Reuters.

Large bursts of seasonal hiring are typical for the holiday season. UPS is hiring an estimated 95,000 seasonal workers this year, about the same as last year. Wal-Mart (60,000) , Target (70,000), and Macy’s (85,000) are all also hiring staggering numbers of seasonal employees. Holiday hiring at traditional retail stores is not expected to grow much year-over-year for 2015.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the biggest hike in seasonal employees belongs to Amazon. The online retail giant plans on hiring 100,000 seasonal employees this year, an increase of 25 percent from last year. 

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