The unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest levels in nearly two decades, which is great news for the consumers and the economy, but employers may struggle to fill seasonal jobs.
The August unemployment rate remained near an 18-year low with only 3.9 percent of Americans unemployed. And for the first time in a decade, the number of available jobs surpassed the number of people hired between March and June, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What about seasonal employees?
Many retailers and other employers that rely on seasonal employees through the holidays have already started hiring to get a jump on the busy shopping season. Some employers will try to attract workers by offering higher wages and offering extra incentives, including paid time off.
J.C. Penney, which started hiring seasonal workers in June, added a week of paid time off for part-time hourly employees, Fox Business reported. On Oct. 16, it also plans to host a national hiring day.
The popularity of online shopping puts increased demand on shipping companies. United Parcel Service announced on Monday that it expects to hire 100,000 seasonal employees.
“Every year, we deliver the holidays for millions of customers,” Chief Operating Officer Jim Barber said in the release. “In order to make that happen, we also deliver thousands of great seasonal jobs at our facilities across the country.”
The company said it will hire full- and part-time package handlers, drivers, and driver helpers, which is an entry point for permanent jobs at UPS.
"Over the last three years, 35 percent of the people UPS hired for seasonal package handler jobs were later hired in a permanent position when the holidays were over," the company wrote.
FedEx is also gearing up for increased volumes with its recent announcement to expand its operations to six days per week, year-round.
“The rise in demand for e-commerce goes beyond peak. It’s a year-round phenomenon and we are ready to meet that demand,” Raj Subramaniam, executive vice president, chief marketing and communications officer, said in a news release. “FedEx Ground has operated six- and seven-day operations during the holidays for several years as e-commerce has grown, and thanks to strategic investments in our network, we are now well-positioned to operate six days a week in the U.S. all year to best serve the rapidly growing demand.”