Companies are being forced to roll out the red carpet for seasonal employees this year. As retailers and shipping companies gear up to feed the holiday frenzy of purchases and deliveries, they are running into a problem hiring because unemployment is very low. Jennifer Smith explains the measures retailers are going to in order to attract the necessary workforce:
“It’s the tightest labor market we’ve ever seen,” said Sean McCartney, executive vice president of operation services at Radial, which handles online orders for e-commerce companies and national chains such as Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. and Aéropostale Inc.
Some big retailers are doing the bulk of their hiring in warehouses that handle online orders, a sign they expect more shoppers to visit their websites instead of stores. Last year, online retail sales jumped 13% in November and December, compared with a 7% decline at department stores, according to the National Retail Federation.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to bring on about 5,000 seasonal workers for its e-commerce operations. The discounter isn’t hiring extra help at its stores, where it plans to give existing employees more hours.
Macy’s plans to add 18,000 seasonal workers at distribution centers that replenish store merchandise and fulfill online orders—a 20% boost compared with last year. Overall seasonal hiring is down slightly at the retailer, which closed dozens of stores after disappointing sales in 2016.
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