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September 3, 2020 2:30 PM, EDT

FedEx to Increase Peak Hiring 27% for ‘Unprecedented’ Season

A FedEx delivery truck is unloadedA FedEx delivery truck is unloaded. (Neill Cooper/Bloomberg News)

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FedEx Corp. plans to hire about 70,000 seasonal workers to handle the holiday surge of packages, a 27% increase from last year’s peak, in what is expected to be an unprecedented level of delivery demand.

The courier already has added thousands of workers to keep up with a jump in deliveries as people order more online because of coronavirus concerns. In the quarter through May, FedEx’s U.S. ground deliveries rose 20% from a year earlier. The company likely will match or surpass that for its fiscal first quarter, which ended in August.

To keep up with demand, FedEx also will expand Sunday delivery service to 95% of the U.S. population by mid-September and has built more automated sorting centers, including more capacity to handle oversize packages.

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“These strategic investments will help better support what is expected to be an unprecedented holiday shipping season,” Chief Operating Officer Raj Subramaniam said in a statement.

FedEx and United Parcel Service Inc. have benefited from consumers ordering more online because of the pandemic.

That’s helped propel FedEx’s shares to surge 51% this year through Sept. 2 and UPS to jump 42%, compared with an 11% rise in the S&P 500.

If the gains hold, they would be the biggest annual stock increases for both companies since 2013.

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