UPS Holiday Hiring May Rise 10% to 55,000

United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) may hire 55,000 holiday workers this year, a 10 percent increase from 2010, to help with shipping gains bolstered by online shopping.

More than 120 million packages may be delivered in the week before Christmas, up 6 percent from last year, the world’s largest package-delivery company said today in a statement.

Projected employment and volume gains at UPS and competitor FedEx Corp. (FDX), both economic proxies because of their deliveries, indicate broader growth while countering indicators of a slowing recovery. FedEx said last month it would hire 20,000 seasonal employees, an 18 percent gain.

UPS’s hiring speaks to “the strength of online shopping despite the softness in the economy,” said Kevin Sterling, a BB&T Capital Markets analyst in Richmond, Virginia, who has a “buy” recommendation on UPS. Web-based purchasing compresses the peak-shipping period because “people try to delay and look for the best deals,” he said.

At FedEx, shipments from Thanksgiving in the U.S. through Christmas may increase 12 percent, with retail inventory such as apparel, personal consumer electronics, luxury goods and items from large Internet retailers accounting for a large portion of holiday volumes, the Memphis, Tennessee-based company said in a statement on Oct. 24.

UPS expects volume of about 25 million packages, or 60 percent more than normal, on five days this year, compared with just one in 2010. The Atlanta-based company expects each of the peak shipping days to occur within the 10 days before Christmas.

To contact the reporter on this story: Natalie Doss in New York at ndoss@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at edufner@bloomberg.net

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