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Worker shortage could impact holiday season, but return to pre-pandemic numbers could be coming

UPS Holiday Hiring
Posted at 5:31 PM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-17 18:38:28-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A worker shortage the country has experienced for the last several months could become more of an issue for businesses during the holiday season.

Nationally, UPS hires around 100,000 seasonal workers each year. In South Texas alone, there are currently more than 7,000 jobs open for drivers, driver helpers, and warehouse employees.

“I think everybody is experiencing the shortages and the challenges this day and age,” said Megan Buddehagen, the HR VP Manager for the southern portion of the Red River District at UPS, which deals with South Texas.

On a more local level, Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend COO Amy Kiddy Villarreal said we see an increase of six to eight percent of job openings around the holidays.

“Historically, businesses need more workers around the holidays due to a spike in retail sales, shipping and receiving, increased travel,” she said.

The issue? An increase in demand for businesses, but no increase in workers, could affect everyone’s holiday plans.

“I’d like to call us the Santa, we basically act as Santa Claus," Buddenhagen said. "We get packages to customers during the holiday season, especially now so many things are online. We’ve seen the effects of that — our volume nearly doubles from pre- and post-peakseason.”

Currently, there are more than 450 job postings on Indeed.com containing the word “seasonal” within 25 miles of Corpus Christi.

UPS is hoping to hire to fill the needed positions, and has even made it easier to hire workers due to the pandemic. Buddenhagen said workers who apply online can receive job offers within a half-hour of filling out forms.

Additionally, Buddenhagen said around 1/3 of current UPS full-time workers started as seasonal employees. She said the company offers competitive pay, paid time off, and tuition reimbursement, to name a few perks.

However, there may be hope on the horizon. Villarreal said numbers are trending in the right direction locally, and she hopes for them to return to pre-pandemic level in the next few months.

“We have seen a decrease in our overall unemployment rate. We have seen more people at work now than we did last year, we have more people at work than we did pre-pandemic. Our unemployment rate is not as low yet, but we’re working to get there,” she said. “In the next 90-120 days, we hope to get back to pre-pandemic numbers, as far as unemployment, and number of people working.”