Most Americans are doing their holiday shopping online this year, deeming in-store browsing an unnecessary danger as COVID continues to spread and the shift to e-commerce hastens. Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales broke new records for digital sales in 2020. The rush of online orders seemed to be a boon for struggling retailers, but it’s put a major strain on the mail carriers trying to deliver packages in time for Christmas. In a desperate attempt to manage the surge, FedEx and UPS have imposed new holiday shipping limits on companies.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that UPS had temporarily stopped accepting shipments from major retailers like Nike and Macy’s. It remains unclear how UPS and FedEx are calculating shipping limits. The co-founder of the e-commerce company Letterfolk told Modern Retail that FedEx is only picking up 110 packages per day through the holiday season. The number is apparently based on the average amount of packages FedEx was picking up from the company each day in September, plus 10%. Companies are frantically seeking out shipping alternatives, some renting their own trucks or bidding for space with other carriers. 

According to information obtained by Modern Retail, FedEx has been preparing for the holidays by hiring over 70,000 seasonal workers this year and picking up packages seven days a week for the first time ever. A UPS spokesman said the carrier will be “shifting package volume away from the heaviest demand shipping days, fully utilizing weekend capacity, and aligning promotional strategies with capacity.”

Upon opening the UPS career page, you’re greeted with a pop-up that reads, “UPS IS HIRING 100,000 PEOPLE THIS SEASON. If you're ready for a great job that will help you pay the bills with less stress, join Team UPS.” 

Our data shows UPS's hiring for "Seasonal Personal Vehicle Package Driver" peaked this year at 3,820 job listings as of Nov 23. The position involves picking up and delivering packages using your own car. 

“You’ll enjoy a fast-paced, physical position that gets you outdoors and connecting with customers,” the listing says. “From the driver’s seat of your own car, find out what you’ll become at UPS.” It appears that not even the postal service is safe from the gig economy.

New York has the highest concentration of “Seasonal Personal Vehicle Package Drivers” with 261 job openings since October, followed by New Jersey’s 221 listings and California’s 209 positions.

FedEx’s hiring for drivers soared to 732 job listings as of last month, a 454% increase compared to June. Compared to November of last year, listings have skyrocketed 111% year-over-year.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online, jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings, and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.

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