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FedEx says online shoppers boosting holiday shipping

By Shan Li, Los Angeles Times –

FedEx Corp. said Monday it will hire 20,000 seasonal employees to work on holiday shipping, which is expected to jump 13 percent from last year.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the global shipping giant predicts it will ship 280 million packages. Dec. 10 is expected to be the busiest day of the season with 19 million shipments, up 10 percent compared with last year.

That’s a spot of good news for what has been a dismal year for a company considered to be a bellwether of the global economy.

FedEx last month posted yet another quarterly slump in earnings and slashed profit projections for 2012. Its chief executive said trade had slowed to levels not seen during the past two significant economic downturns.

The company said it has been hiring workers throughout the year and therefore does not need to hire more seasonal employees than last year. Many of its new employees are staffing its Ground and SmartPost divisions, which handle a big chunk of online retail traffic.

Chief competitor United Postal Service has not yet released its predictions for the holidays. It too is expected to benefit from a surge of online gift buying during November and December.

Retail sales this holiday are expected to rise 4.1 percent compared with last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

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