The pandemic put millions out of work. Now it’s shaping which jobs are in-demand this holiday season.
There is the typical job postings for cashiers and backroom workers at Target, but companies are especially looking for workers to handle the growing number of online orders and deliveries. Online shopping was on the rise before the pandemic, but COVID-19 has discouraged travel, making gift delivery all the more important this season.
Florida’s unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in September — the most recent data available — which is down from 13.8 percent at the onset of the pandemic in April. This is a breakdown of some of the biggest players looking for more workers across Florida and Tampa Bay.
The United Parcel Service, more commonly called UPS, says it’s seeking 800 seasonal employees across Tampa Bay and 7,000 across the state. The delivery service is seeking drivers, driver helpers, package handlers and personal vehicle drivers. Wages range from $14.50 to $21 an hour, according to company spokesman Dan McMackin.
Unlike typical retail jobs, UPS seasonal jobs extend through January to continue to handle the influx of packages caused by gift returns. McMackin said last year the company kept about 37 percent of seasonal workers permanently.
Amazon announced it was adding 100,000 seasonal jobs this holiday season with more than 5,200 positions available in Florida. Amazon’s Florida minimum wage is $15 per hour for both full and part-time workers.
Amazon’s website lists warehouse jobs open in both Tampa and St. Petersburg to help pick, prepare and pack orders, and to handle grocery orders for both Whole Foods and at the Amazon Fresh building in Tampa.
Target said in the fall it would begin to hire seasonal workers across the country, doubling the number of employees who handle pickup and delivery services and increasing the number of distribution center employees to handle the influx of online orders. The Minnesota-based chain didn’t specify a number of seasonal hires, but said last year it kept about 40 percent of its seasonal employees. Target’s minimum wage is $15 an hour.
As of Tuesday, Target’s online job page showed more than 100 posts about positions in the Tampa Bay area. The seasonal positions range from specialty sales in electronics and beauty to overnight shifts in the backroom.
Walmart said in September it planned to hire 20,000 seasonal workers across the country with a focus on its eCommerce and warehouses to handle the anticipated influx in online orders.
The Lakeland warehouse is hiring employees starting at $15 an hour with the possibility to get $3 an hour pay boost for being a peak season worker. Its distribution center in Brooksville also is hiring.
Other seasonal gigs in the area include: at-home customers service for home shopping network HSN, which is based in St. Petersburg; cashiers at Lowe’s; and carts or food service at Ikea.
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