Seasonal Hiring Hits Five-Year High

Nov. 19, 2012
UPS plans to hire 55,000 seasonal workers to help handle the 527 million packages the company expects to deliver between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Seasonal hiring is at the highest level in five years. Retailers are expected to add as many as 625,000 temporary workers, up from 607,000 workers last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Walmart and Amazon both expect to hire about 50,000 additional employees nationwide. Kohl’s will add 52,700 workers, a 10% increase over last year.

Shippers are also adding to the seasonal workforce. UPS plans to hire 55,000 seasonal workers to help handle the 527 million packages the company expects to deliver between Thanksgiving and Christmas. FedEx anticipates handling more than 280 million shipments during the same time. The company plans to hire 20,000 seasonal workers, the same as last year.

These are among the highlights of the most recent logistics numbers reflected in a Logistics Market Snapshot, courtesy of the Georgia Center of Innovation. Here are the rest of those highlights:

Transportation Indexes:

• The Dow Jones Transportation index remained flatduring the month of October. (Based on stock performance of twenty large, well-known U.S. companies in the transportation industry, average of October 10th thru November 10th)

• NASDAQ Transportation Index rose 3.6%in October. (Averaged share weights of NASDAQ-listed companies classified as transportation companies, average of October 10th thru November 10th)

• The October shipments index fell 1.4%over the previous month and rose 5.4%year-over-year. The October expenditures index increased 1.6%for the month, and increased 8.4%year over year. (Source: Cass Information Systems | (Based upon transportation dollars and shipments of Cass clients comprised of over 400 shipping companies)

• The USDOT's freight transportation services index rose 0.2%in September 2012. The index’s reading of 109.2 was 15.8% higherthan the April 2009 low during the recession. (Source: US DOT)

Imports and Exports:

• In September, the U.S. imported about $228.5 billionof cargo. September U.S. imports have increased 1.5%in terms of value from August, and grew 1.5%year-over-year. (Source: US Census)

• In September, the U.S. exported more than $187 billion of cargo. September U.S. exports have decreased 3.1% in terms of value over the previous month and grew 3.5% year-over-year. (Source: US Census)

• U.S. import prices rose 0.5% in October. Import prices rose 0.4% over the past year. The price index for U.S. exports remained the same in October, following a 0.8% increase in September. Export prices increased 1.4% year-over-year. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)


• Railroad bulk carload freight in October 2012 fell 2.1% from September 2012. Freight traffic in October fell 6.1% from October 2011. Carloads excluding coal and grain increased 3.4% over the previous year. (Source: (Report includes rail car-loadings by 19 different major commodity categories as well as intermodal units)

• Intermodal rail traffic in October 2012 was 1.5% higher than in October 2011 and 1.2% lower than September 2012 totals. Intermodal loadings experienced year-over-year gains for 35 straight months. (Source: (Report includes rail car-loadings by 19 different major commodity categories as well as intermodal units)


• The ATA’s seasonally adjusted cargo index rose 0.4% in September after falling 0.9% in August. The for-hire truck tonnage index rose 2.4% year-over-year, the smallest year-over-year increase since December 2009. (Source: American Trucking Association |

• The spot market for truckload freight in October fell 3.8% compared to the previous month, and was 8.2% lower year-over-year. Truck capacity fell 28% for the month, and was up 41% year-over-year. (Source: TransCore Freight Index |


• Global air freight traffic in September increased 0.6% from one year ago and fell 0.6% from the previous month. North American air freight in September fell 1% year-over-year. (Source: (Global air freight covers international and domestic scheduled air traffic. North American traffic includes only domestic freight traffic.)

• In September, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport transported 53,929 metric tons of cargo, a 1.6% decline from the previous month and a 3.1% decrease year-over-year. (Source: HJIA)


• Import shipment volume, in TEUs, at U.S. ports decreased 6.8% in October from the previous month and fell 4.8% over the previous year. (Source: Zepol Corporation |


• The U.S. average industrial vacancy rate was 9% during Q3 2012, down from 9.1% in the previous quarter. Overall vacancy was 10.6% in the South and 13.9% in Atlanta during the third quarter. (Source: Cassidy Turley)

Purchasing Managers Index:

• The National PMI rose 0.2 points to 51.7 in October 2012. New orders increased 1.9 points to 54.2 and production rose 2.9 points to 52.4. (Source: Institute for Supply Management)

(The PMI combines data on new orders, inventory, production, supplier deliveries, and employment. A reading above 50 indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding.)

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