Historical Stock Chart
1 Month : From Nov 2018 to Dec 2018
By Jennifer Smith
Logistics operators defied weaker national hiring trends in November, as parcel and warehouse firms added 16,100 jobs in a sprint into the holiday peak shipping season.
Courier and messenger firms added 9,900 jobs in November, the strongest increase since December 2016, according to preliminary figures the Labor Department released Friday, in a strong sign that growing e-commerce delivery demands are driving more hiring in transportation and logistics. Consumers logged more than $26.61 billion in online purchases between Nov. 21 and Nov. 26, according to Adobe Systems Inc.
United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. are bringing on tens of thousands of seasonal workers and investing heavily in automation to handle the crush of online volume.
Storage and warehousing companies added 6,200 jobs last month and have boosted payrolls by nearly 50,000 workers in the past 12 months.
This year, "we saw an increase in the number of employees we had to hire by 10% to 12%" for the seasonal peak, said Steve Sensing, president of Ryder System Inc.'s global supply chain division, which operates more than 300 warehouses across North America.
Warehouse operators are also raising pay in a tight labor market. Average starting wages were up 6.2% in November, to $13.59 an hour, from the same month a year ago, according to ProLogistix, a logistics staffing firm. More increases are expected this month as businesses offer bonuses, overtime and incentive pay aimed at holding on to workers during the peak weeks leading up to Christmas.
"This year I'm expecting it to peak out at $14.25 an hour" on average, said Brian Devine, senior vice president of ProLogistix. Wages could edge even higher, he said, in high-cost areas such as San Francisco.
Overall U.S. job growth slowed last month, as employers added 155,000 jobs, while unemployment held steady at 3.7%, matching the lowest rate in nearly 49 years. Wages grew 3.1%, matching the strongest pace in nearly a decade.
Sectors that feed goods into logistics and shipping networks signaled confidence in growth expectations with strong hiring.
Retailers added a net 18,200 jobs in November, including 39,300 at general merchandise stores such as department stores and warehouse clubs. But the retail sector lost 14,100 positions at clothing and accessories stores, where merchants are struggling to adjust to the growth of online shopping.
Manufacturing payrolls grew by 27,000 last month, when factory activity was stronger than expected as companies pushed out orders ahead of expected tariff increases.
Trucking companies added 4,500 jobs, meanwhile, rebounding from October's revised figure of 200 job losses. Overall, fleets added 36,300 jobs in the 12 months ending in November, the biggest 12-month gain since 2015, even as companies report difficulty recruiting and retaining drivers.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 07, 2018 14:21 ET (19:21 GMT)
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