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November 14, 2022 5:04 PM, EST

FedEx Freight Unit Furloughs Workers as Cargo Demand Slows

A FedEx worker sorts packages on a conveyor beltA FedEx worker sorts packages on a conveyor belt at the FedEx Oakland Airport sort facility. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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FedEx Corp.’s freight unit is putting workers on furlough in some U.S. markets, adding to mounting evidence of a cargo slowdown as the company joins other large employers trimming their ranks.

The furloughed workers will continue to receive health benefits, the courier said Nov. 14 in an emailed statement. Some of the affected employees will be offered permanent transfers to areas that are still hiring.



“The company will continue to evaluate the environment and bring back furloughed employees as business circumstances allow,” FedEx said in the statement. It didn’t specify how many workers would be affected in the freight business, which hauls less-than-truckload cargo for retail and industrial customers and is the company’s third-largest unit.

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The move comes after FedEx said last week it’s cutting cargo flights and parking planes as the airfreight market declines. Many companies in third-quarter earnings cited a slowdown of demand as the Federal Reserve continues to boost interest rates to cool inflation. C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., said it will cut costs by $175 million to cope with a downturn in 2023.

The staff reductions aren’t limited to freight companies. Online retail giant Amazon.com Inc. is preparing to cut about 10,000 positions beginning as soon as this week.

FedEx shares fell less than 1% in New York. The stock has declined 32% this year.

FedEx Corp. ranks No. 2 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America and the Transport Topics Top 50 list of the largest global freight companies. C.H. Robinson ranks No. 1 on the TT 100 list of the top logistics companies. Amazon ranks No. 19 on the TT 100 list of the top private carriers.

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