Parcel delivery and warehousing companies hired in big numbers last month as they geared up for the holidays by adding more than 13,000 jobs to operations closely tied to the surge in e-commerce.
Warehousing and storage payrolls grew by 8,000 jobs in November, according to preliminary employment figures the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released Friday. That was the largest monthly increase since January in an industry that includes fulfillment centers that process online orders. The Labor Department revised earlier numbers to show the sector lost 500 jobs in October after previously reporting an increase of 500 jobs.
“We have some companies saying, as many workers as you can get us, we’ll take them,” said
chief executive of on-demand staffing platform BlueCrew, which supplies workers to logistics and warehouse operators and other blue-collar employers.
Courier and messenger companies that deliver packages to homes and businesses also ramped up hiring in November, adding 5,100 jobs as they head into a short holiday season that could test their ability to deliver packages on time.
The surge in logistics fields focused on digital commerce came as the U.S. economy overall added 266,000 jobs in November and the jobless rate fell to 3.5%, a 50-year low and matching September’s level.
Those gains aren’t carrying through to transportation companies more exposed to the industrial sector.
Trucking companies cut 1,000 jobs last month as freight volumes declined. Truckers added just 4,000 jobs between November 2018 and 2019, sharply decelerating from a gain of 43,900 jobs in the previous 12-month period.
The transition to online shopping has bolstered seasonal hiring for workers who fulfill and deliver e-commerce orders. This year
United Parcel Service Inc.,
, the U.S. Postal Service and
will handle a total of nearly 2.5 billion parcels between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, according to estimates by research firm SJ Consulting Group Inc.
Digital shopping generated a record $81.5 billion in sales between Nov. 1 and Dec. 2, up 14% from the same period in 2018, according to
Adobe Systems Inc.
senior vice president of logistics-staffing firm ProLogistix, said some of the company’s clients indicated they would keep on a greater proportion of seasonal workers than usual after the holiday season, “because talent is so tough to come by.”
Write to Jennifer Smith at [email protected]
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