UPS is planning to hire more extra holiday help than usual in a sign that corporate America is betting on a stronger fourth quarter. Jeanne Yurman reports.
It's not even Halloween and some U.S. companies already are loading up on winter holiday help. UPS is bringing on as many as 95,000 extra workers, nearly double last year's figure, to beef up the ranks for the season. In part, it's trying to avoid last year's mess when packages were tied up for days in the wake of bad weather and a surge in online shopping. But as the world's largest package delivery business, jobs expert John Challenger of Challenger, Gray and Christmas says the UPS news is signaling more. SOUNDBITE: JOHN CHALLENGER, PRESIDENT & CEO, CHALLENGER, GRAY & CHRISTMAS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We created over two million jobs in the economy. That's two million more people working, bringing paychecks home who have the wherewithal to buy present and gifts this holiday season. That's good news for UPS and it's also a bellwether for what's going to happen in the retail sector as that hiring starts to gear up." Supporting this, a jobs survey by Manpower of 18,000 U.S. employers shows nearly 20 percent plan to hire in the fourth quarter - 15 percent when taking out seasonal employees - the strongest levels since 2008. The Federal Reserve is chewing on data like this to pinpoint when and how much to hike interest rates. An update from the central bank is expected Wednesday. Policy makers are weighing not just the number of jobs but the extent to which pay is rising. Economist Maria Fiorini Ramirez: SOUNDBITE: MARIA FIORINI RAMIREZ, PRESIDENT & CEO, MFR (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think we really need to have income growth in order to have sustainable consumption spending and consumer health. So I think that to the extent that we haven't seen that yet, that's why I think the Fed tightening is actually further down the road and not coming any time soon." As for that slew of UPS hires, the majority will be temporary, though the company notes that seasonal jobs often can translate into full time positions. More broadly, if UPS is foreshadowing what's to come in Q4, then perhaps jobs numbers and pay may be on the rise.