Freight Companies Hiring in Billings to Gear Up for Online Holiday Shopping

By Olson, Erik | The Billings Gazette (Billings, MT), November 6, 2016 | Go to article overview

Freight Companies Hiring in Billings to Gear Up for Online Holiday Shopping


Olson, Erik, The Billings Gazette (Billings, MT)


It's November, and that means retailers in Billings are beefing up their workforce ahead of the annual surge of shoppers.

But as online shopping continues to grow, shippers are under increasing pressure to find workers to handle and move the increase in boxes of Christmas presents and food for holiday meals.

"We definitely need seasonal employees in your area this year," said Seattle-based spokesman Dan McMackin of UPS, which operates a distribution center on Lampman Drive in Billings.

The National Retail Federation expects retailers nationwide will add 690,000 jobs this holiday season, slightly above last year's numbers. E-commerce sales are expected to grow 7 to 10 percent, fueling demand for drivers, warehouse workers and distribution employees.

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the traditional start of the make-or-break holiday shopping season, which many retailers count on to turn a profit for the year. Planning for those busy weeks is already underway.

In September, officials at Minneapolis, Minn.-based Target Corp. announced they are hiring 7,500 seasonal employees for their 13 distribution centers nationwide.

That's about 1,000 more employees than Target hired for those centers last year. Company officials say they need those employees to both replenish store inventory and fill online orders.

Target is hiring 70,000 seasonal workers in its stores nationwide, including the two in Billings.

UPS is looking to hire 120 seasonal employees in Billings and 320 statewide, according to McMackin. Nationwide, the Atlanta, Ga.-based shipper plans to hire 95,000 employees, a number that's essentially been flat for about three years, McMackin added.

"We have been using more automation to sort packages, so perhaps that is keeping the number of total seasonal hires down somewhat... We are doing a better job of planning what volume will look like for the upcoming season. We start planning in January for our peak season, and we are working earlier with large shippers to get better forecasts. …

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