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Holiday Hiring Plateaus at Logistics Firms Amid Retail Uncertainty

holiday packages ready for delivery

Last week, Amazon announced plans to increase its hiring for the holiday season.

It now looks like it might be the only big company in the retail/fulfillment space to do so. As The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Thursday (Sept. 28), most logistics and fulfillment companies are keeping their holiday hiring flat amid uncertainty about consumer spending.

Companies want to get a sense of holiday demand, Laura Ritchey, chief executive of eCommerce logistics provider Radial, told the WSJ.

Her company plans to hire the same number of seasonal workers this year — 9,500 — as it did in 2022 “unless something changes from a macroeconomic perspective or there’s suddenly even more inventory in the supply chain.”

The report notes that other companies are in the same boat, with UPS and Target keeping their holiday hiring flat compared to 2022, and the U.S. Postal Service planning to hire about a third of the seasonal workers it brought out last year.

In addition, the WSJ said holiday spending will grow between 3.5% and 4.6% from last year, compared to 7.6% in 2022 and 15.1% in 2021, per figures from Deloitte. And parcel deliveries are projected to ship roughly 82 million packages a day this holiday season, below last year’s peak, Satish Jindel, president of research firm SJ Consulting Group, told the newspaper.

Amazon said last week it would hire 250,000 employees for the holidays — 100,000 more than last year — while upping the hourly pay for customer fulfillment and transportation workers.

Many other retailers are keeping their hiring the same as last year, while some stores, such as Macy’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods, say they plan to bring on even fewer seasonal employees.

As noted here recently, these retailers might be faced with consumers seeking less expensive purchases to complete their holiday shopping.

PYMNTS Intelligence has found that close to 60% of consumers have reduced spending on clothing and accessories, with 40% switching to less expensive brands. And within the retail segment, 60% of consumers have begun shopping at cheaper retailers, while 35% have sacrificed product quality by moving to cheaper, lower-quality goods.

Consumers will also likely turn to credit cards to get through the holidays, according to PYMNTS’ “New Reality Check: The Paycheck-to-Paycheck Report.”

As that report says, “using credit to deal with seasonal financial distress is a popular strategy for all consumers. At 23%, paycheck-to-paycheck consumers without issues paying their bills cite credit product usage as their top strategy — slightly more than the 20% of paycheck-to-paycheck consumers struggling to pay bills and the 17% of consumers not living paycheck to paycheck who say the same.”