The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will hire 28,000 seasonal employees to handle the looming winter peak season rush, even as forecasters puzzle about whether shoppers will return to pre-pandemic spending patterns in light of economic pressures like swollen inflation and interest rates.
USPS’ hiring target follows news that parcel carrier UPS Inc. will hire 100,000 and third party logistics provider (3PL) Geodis will hire 5,000 temporary workers for the busy period. All three efforts will take place in a tight labor market where trucking fleets and warehouse operators say their employment costs are rising as they offer higher wages to attract qualified workers. At the same time, economists are still sifting through market signals as they struggle to predict consumers’ quirky shopping habits.
Despite those unknown variables, USPS has been ramping up its parcel network to handle an increased flow of boxes and a dwindling stream of paper envelopes. USPS has long said that those trends are occurring because of the rising popularity of e-commerce deliveries and a shift to replace first class letters with email and other online communication.
To accommodate the change, USPS says it has deployed 249 new package processing machines since 2021, including 137 added since January 2022. It has also added new technology in its sorting and distribution centers, buying 6,000 computer tablets in the past 12 months to help processing and delivery supervisors to track and move both mail and packages. Together, those changes will help USPS boost its processing limit to 60 million packages per day this holiday season compared to 53 million in 2021.
The service also said it would augment space shortages at existing postal facilities through new leases on 52 peak season annexes and processing facilities which added 8.5 million square feet to the Postal Service footprint. And on the roads, USPS has leased 1,900 additional trailers to haul the increased holiday load, adding them to its existing fleet of 222,682 vehicles.
USPS leaders are hoping the changes help build customers’ confidence in its network after it drew criticism last year for a move to slow the delivery of certain parcels in a money-saving bid. Under that decision, the post office said it would transition many packages from air to ground delivery, and shift its standard three-day delivery service to a two-to-five day window.
In February , USPS launched a “USPS Connect” initiative to adapt its core package delivery options to better serve business customers. And in March, it got a boost in its cost-cutting efforts when Congress passed a law streamlining its financial obligations in paying employee health and retirement benefits.
The United States Postal Service is actively recruiting for many positions that may be perfect for you. Whether you are looking for full time, part time or seasonal positions, we have options available: https://t.co/PMmLLZ2CDD pic.twitter.com/4mSIUSC2MR— U.S. Postal Service (@USPS) September 7, 2022