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Amazon Sets Holiday Hiring Target

Amazon said Thursday it aims to hire 150,000 workers as it prepares for the peak holiday shipping season that kicks off with its new Prime Day 2.0 sale next week. 

That’s on par with last year’s peak-season plan and a bump from the 100,000 it recruited for the 2020 holidays. The U.S. positions include picking, packing, sorting and shipping for full-time, part-time and seasonal work. The e-commerce company said California, Texas, Utah, Washington, Tennessee, Idaho and Illinois are among the states with the largest number of open job requisitions. 

The company is hoping to entice applicants with pay that averages above $19 an hour and sign-on bonuses for some positions of $1,000 to $3,000. Some workers were insulted by Amazon’s plans to raise wages by less than the $5 per hour they hoped for.

The announced hiring target for the e-commerce company follows news this week Amazon temporarily stopped corporate hiring in its retail division

A number of companies have instituted hiring freezes or layoffs this year to pare back their payrolls and realign businesses that ballooned during the pandemic, but are now adjusting to new operating conditions. 

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Google and Apple are among the companies that have pumped the breaks on hiring. Fitness equipment company and apparel maker Peloton on Thursday said it’s going through another round of job cuts after losing a legal fight with Lululemon, with the reductions trimming about 500 positions. Layoffs have also hit Walmart, Gap, Bed Bath & Beyond, StockX, ThredUp, Rent the Runway, VF, Snap, Meta and Netflix. 

Parcel carriers, meanwhile, continue preparations for the peak with holiday hiring targets. Although, a look at the major carriers suggests a mixed bag in outlooks, given softening volumes noted by some. 

UPS said last month it was aiming to hire more than 100,000 workers for the holiday season, about in line with historical recruiting levels for this time of year. The seasonal full- and part-time positions include last-mile delivery drivers, driver assistants, commercial drivers and package handlers. 

DHL Supply Chain said it expects to add about 12,000 seasonal workers to its warehouses for the peak, with 9,000 of those hires dedicated to retail and e-commerce. The company will also raise its robot workforce to 2,000. That’s an increase from 1,500 used during holiday 2021. 

“We are seeing a return to pre-pandemic growth rates as the pent-up demand that fueled the high surges has been tapering off in most product categories,” DHL Supply Chain Scott Sureddin said in a statement this week. “Nonetheless, we expect volumes to remain strong.” 

FedEx, which has not announced its holiday hiring targets, in September withdrew previously announced guidance for its fiscal year 2023 and said it would work to create savings in the range of $2.2 billion to $2.7 billion in the current fiscal year. 

“We saw a decline in our volumes during the first quarter, which accelerated in the final weeks,” FedEx Corp. president and CEO Raj Subramaniam told analysts during the company’s quarterly earnings call last month. “Our softening volumes in Asia and the U.S. were predominantly due to the economy, while the shortfall in Europe was both economic and service related. Therefore, we had costs in the system for volumes that didn’t materialize.” 

The delivery company is now on what Subramaniam called an “aggressive and decisive plan” to slash costs, which will come from temporarily parking some cargo planes, halting Sunday operations in certain markets and shuttering some FedEx Office retail locations and corporate facilities.

At the same time, shippers will see rates for the 2023 calendar year rise an average of 6.9 percent for FedEx’s Express, Ground and Home Delivery services.  FedEx Freight rate increases next year are expected to average 6.9 percent to 7.9 percent.