DALLAS (AP) — UPS plans to hire up to 95,000 workers to help deliver packages during the busy holiday season — an increase from last year, when the company was caught unprepared for a boom in online shopping.
The Atlanta-based company said Tuesday that the positions will include package sorters, loaders, delivery helpers and drivers.
Last year, UPS underestimated the surge in deliveries during the holiday shipping season, which peaked several days later than the company had expected as shoppers jumped at offers of free shipping right up until a few days before Christmas. With faulty forecasts, the company didn't hire enough seasonal help.
UPS originally planned to hire 55,000 seasonal workers in 2013 but wound up adding 30,000 more to handle the surge in deliveries, which drove up costs and reduced earnings. Even with the additional hiring, UPS couldn't keep up with the volume of packages, and some last-minute deliveries were delayed until after Christmas.
"We feel like we are much more prepared this year to have better volume forecasting — we are working closely with our largest customers to get as close as possible to those volume projections," Lytana Kids, UPS' vice president of work force planning, said in an interview.
After last year's debacle, some analysts suggested that UPS needed to adjust pricing or make other changes to avoid another surge in last-minute shipments. UPS officials declined to describe their discussions with key shippers.
UPS has taken several other steps to prepare for this year's onslaught of deliveries. It has installed temporary mobile sorting and delivery centers and added thousands of new or leased trucks and trailers. Last year, UPS leased 23 extra planes, and Kids said that number would rise this year. It will add operating days and shifts, including a regular schedule of ground pick-ups and deliveries on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
The company said much of this year's increase in package deliveries will come from online purchases. UPS expects shipments to begin rising in October and remain high through January, as some gifts gets returned or exchanged.
United Parcel Service Inc. said that it will hire between 90,000 and 95,000 workers for the holidays, with wages beginning at $10 per hour. It said that the seasonal jobs have long served as an entry point for permanent employment. Individuals interested in applying for the seasonal positions can do so online at UPSjobs.com.
Rival FedEx Corp. declined to comment on its hiring plans. It hired about 20,000 seasonal workers last year.
Shares of UPS rose 34 cents to close at $97.96. They have lost 7 percent so far this year, while FedEx shares have gained 8 percent.
AP Business Writer Michelle Chapman in New York contributed to this report.