FedEx Expects Surge In Holiday Shipping, Hiring

fromWKNO

The Memphis-based shipping giant has boosted its domestic shipping forecast for the holiday season and says it will hire more seasonal employees than it did last year to help handle the shipments.

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ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: And the shipping giant FedEx is often seen as a bellwether for the U.S. economy. When the economy is good people buy and ship more. No one is calling this economy good, but FedEx says it expects a surge in domestic shipping this holiday season compared to last year. Candice Ludlow of member station WKNO explains.

CANDICE LUDLOW, BYLINE: When the economy is sluggish, consumers just don't buy as much and don't need to ship things. But FedEx spokeswoman Carla Boyd says that's changing, at least in the U.S.

CARLA BOYD: We are looking at a seasonal increase in our volumes of 12 percent, basically being driven by e-commerce and modest increased consumer spending, but important to us, also, is our ability to capture market share from our competitors.

LUDLOW: Memphis-based FedEx plans to hire 20,000 seasonal workers to help handle shipments. That's up 3,000 workers from last year. These temporary employees are needed to get out 260 million packages this holiday season. Economist Jeff Wallace at the University of Memphis says rising demand and seasonal growth are good signs.

JEFF WALLACE: And it's predicated on two factors. There's structural change in the way customers are doing business. They're buying, obviously, much more online, now. And the other part is there is a bit of an improvement in the economy.

LUDLOW: Still, last month, FedEx cut its financial outlook because of slowing international shipments. For NPR News, I'm Candice Ludlow, in Memphis.

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