Hiring in the transportation and warehousing sector soared in October as employers heading into peak shipping season added 24,800 jobs, the biggest monthly gain since December and accounting for nearly 10 percent of total U.S. job growth.
Parcel-delivery firms that bring packages to homes and business added 7,600 positions last month, as did warehousing and storage companies, according to preliminary figures the Labor Department released last week.
The gains come as surging e-commerce sales are expected to test logistics networks’ capacity this holiday season. Warehouse operations have expanded dramatically in recent years as Amazon.com Inc. and other companies open sprawling, labor-intensive fulfillment centers where workers pick, pack and ship online purchases. This year, consumers are expected to spend $124.1bn online in November and December, up 14.8 percent from during the same two-month period in 2017, according to software company Adobe Systems Inc.
XPO Logistics Inc., one of the largest logistics and transportation providers in the U.S., said last week that strong e-commerce demand helped drive an 18-percent jump in its third-quarter logistics segment revenue in North America. The Greenwich, Conn.-based company is also ramping up a shared-space warehouse network to meet demand for flexible distribution, including additional holiday capacity.
“Most are e-commerce and retail customers. We also have some manufacturers, and expect volumes to accelerate into peak,” XPO Chief Executive Brad Jacobs said in an interview.
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