Retailers are still hiring seasonal workers by the thousands, but consumer spending habits mean more of those jobs are in distribution and e-commerce.
Online sales are expected to reach $91 billion this holiday season, with more than 1 billion packages delivered.
Although traditional holiday jobs are still available, delivering service to customers these days also means getting the packages they ordered online delivered on time. The United Parcel Service, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service all ramped up hiring for the holiday season.
In Dayton, the U.S. Postal Service hired for 110 temporary positions.
Nationwide, retailers are expected to hire between 640,000 and 690,000 seasonal workers this holiday season. Last year, more than 675,000 new holiday positions were filled.
The Ohio Council of Retail Merchants and the University of Cincinnati Economics Center found the state is likely to see a 1.54 percent increase in holiday retail spending. That amount is slowing due to online and mobile spending, instead of brick-and-mortar sales.
Serdar Durmusoglu, a marketing professor for the University of Dayton, said that shift in job type will continue on as more consumers go online for purchases.
“More jobs will be behind the scenes,” he said. “You will need to be able to technically unpack goods in warehouses, shop to stores, ship them out of stores.”
The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., which owns and operates Elder-Beerman, looked to hire for 13,000 seasonal positions. Elder-Beerman has locations at the Dayton Mall, the Mall at Fairfield Commons and the Towne Mall in Middletown.
“Hiring additional staffing will ensure we deliver fast, friendly service and meet customer expectations in our stores as well as online,” said Bill Tracy, chief operating officer for Bon-Ton.
Kohl’s brought in an extra 1,000 seasonal workers in Monroe at its facility at 3500 Salzman Road.
Bigger national retailers hired even more extensively. Amazon aimed to hire 120,000 employees for the holiday season. In 2015, more than 14,000 seasonal positions transitioned into regular, full-time roles for Amazon. The company announced it was hiring across the U.S. for its fulfillment centers, sorting centers, and customer service sites.
Macy’s also looked to hire 83,000 seasonal workers nationwide.
Target hosted a two-day hiring event at all locations in October to bring in extra workers. The company announced it was expecting the “mega-high volume of online orders.” They planned to hire 7,500 seasonal positions to help fulfill those orders.
Ohio’s retail industry accounts for $26.5 billion of Ohio’s annual Gross Domestic Product, according to Gordon Gough, the president and CEO of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants. Retail supports 1.5 million jobs — 1 in 4 of all Ohio jobs. That’s more than any other industry, he said.
Delivery also drove more job growth for the season. United Parcel Service (UPS) plans to employ more than 95,000 seasonal workers, including delivery drivers, loaders and package sorters. FedEx is adding more than 50,000 additional positions leading up to the peak season. U.S. Postal Service has also hired another 35,000 seasonal employees.
“In addition to investing in temporary seasonal processing facilities, UPS is implementing new technology and automation systems to increase capacity, efficiency and flexibility within the operations,” said Kate Gutmann, senior vice president of UPS sales and solutions.
Delivery services told customers that more than a billion packages would be sent this holiday season alone, an increase driven by online retailers. Adobe Digital Insights predict online sales will reach more than $91 billion this holiday season, an increase of about 11 percent.
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