Will the unease over hiring ruin holiday shopping this year? – Pasadena Star News

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While Southern California employers struggle to fill seasonal jobs in stores, warehouses, and other businesses, a lack of available workers can steal some of the joy of holiday shopping sprees.

Growing consumer demand and a shortage of workers to handle a myriad of products are wreaking havoc on the country’s supply chain, according to Southland economist John Husing.

“It’s flooded,” he said. “There are 70 cargo ships seated off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach right now. That’s about 525,000 40-foot containers that need to be unloaded. That’s a lot, and most of that stuff is Christmas merchandise.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 20: In an aerial view, container ships are anchored at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles awaiting unloading on September 20, 2021 near Los Angeles, California. Amid record nationwide demand for imported cargo and supply chain issues, the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are currently experiencing unprecedented congestion. On September 17, there was a record total of 147 ships, including 95 container ships, in the twin ports, which carry around 40% of all freight containers entering the United States (Photo by Mario Tama / Getty Images)

The traffic jam is so bad Costco chartered three freighters carrying 800 to 1,000 containers to move the big box retailer’s products.

Husing said there were not enough truck drivers, railway workers and others in the supply chain to handle the influx of goods.

The labor shortage has become a common theme in most service industries in recent months, and it’s confusing for industry experts who expected a new wave of job seekers after the federal government’s $ 300 weekly unemployment benefit expired in early September.

Related: Enjoy holiday shopping now, toy executive says, as port congestion continues

“Part of it has to do with the delta variant,” Husing said. “There is a fear factor there. Some people are still afraid to go back to work. It was also expected that once schools reopened, many women left at home with their children would return to work, but this has yet to happen.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has temporarily shut down dozens of U.S. businesses, has also prompted many unemployed employees to re-evaluate employment opportunities, with many placing more emphasis on flexibility, the work environment and work culture.

Logistics provider Radial is stepping up its pre-holiday seasonal recruiting, looking for 3,000 temporary workers at two facilities in southern California. (Photo courtesy of Radial)

Feel the pressure

Radial, a Pennsylvania-based e-commerce company looking to fill 3,000 jobs in its distribution centers in Rialto and Montebello, is feeling the pressure.

Hiring is a challenge this year at all levels, ”admitted Andrea Crawford, Director of Human Resources. “We recognize the need for a competitive salary for people looking for seasonal work. “

Will any store shelves be empty this holiday season?

Ed Egee, vice president of government relations and workforce development for the National Retail Federation, does not rule out the possibility.

“There are currently around 10 million job openings across the country and over a million of them are in retail,” he said. “Members of our stores are working hard to ensure that their supply of merchandise meets market demand, but given the downturn in West Coast ports… it will be really tough.”

Husing expects some shelves to be sterile.

“Of course,” he said. “I suspect that even when you buy online there will be delays.”

Buying online has become big business. Adobe analytics said the COVID-19 pandemic gave e-commerce a boost of $ 183 billion between March 2020 and February 2021. A total of $ 844 billion was spent online during this period, said Adobe, and the company predicts ecommerce spending this year to reach $ 850 billion. to $ 930 billion.

A hiring sign in progress at McDonald’s restaurant in Yorba Linda, Calif. On Monday, September 13, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register / SCNG)

The “Help wanted” signs are in place

Challenges aside, job ads add up quickly.

Earlier this week, CVS Health said it was looking to fill 25,000 pharmacist, pharmacy technician, nurse and retailer positions nationwide, including 3,100 in California.

The U.S. Postal Service to Host Career Fairs in San Bernardino and San Diego over the next few weeks as he seeks to fill 500 seasonal positions.

Rubio’s Coastal Grill has 1,000 openings in California, Arizona and Nevada, and Walmart seeks to hire workers for its Walmart and Sam’s Club distribution centers in Southern California as part of the mega retailer’s campaign to recruit 20,000 people nationwide as order pickers, material handlers, lift drivers, technicians and managers in its 250 distribution facilities.

On the delivery side, UPS plans to hire approximately 12,000 seasonal workers from Southern California. Arts and crafts retailer Michaels looking to fill 400 Southern California slots and a German discount grocer Aldi plans to hire 740 local workers.

Salaries for jobs cover a wide range. Some entry-level positions at UPS, for example, start at $ 15 an hour while others go up to $ 23 an hour. Walmart’s supply chain workers earn an average of $ 20 an hour.

What about the bonuses? They come hard and heavy.

Pepsi Beverages Co. hosted a career fair earlier this month in Menifee as the company looks to fill 60 positions at its Riverside warehouse. New recruits will receive a registration bonus of $ 2,000.

Dollar tree and family dollar offer a $ 1,000 enrollment bonus to new employees at the company’s San Bernardino distribution center, and Old Dominion Freight Line, which also hosted a career fair this month at its Bloomington service center, is due to hire nearly 100 full-time workers.

Qualified applicants may be eligible for a login bonus of $ 5,000, the company said.

While well-intentioned, Husing said the login bonuses could ultimately fuel lateral work moves.

“It could cause people to just switch from one area to another,” he said. “If I’m a retail seller and see Amazon offering login bonuses in one of their warehouses, I might give up my job and go to work there to make more money.”

Target’s target for seasonal hires in 2021 is 100,000, the retailer said in a statement on Thursday. This is down from 130,000 last year. (AP Photo / Susan Walsh, file)

Workers in search of more

Leslie Tarnacki, senior vice president of global human resources at WorkForce Software, said that current job seekers are not content with just any open opportunity.

“A company’s culture, flexible work options and the overall employee experience become a top priority for people, rather than just pay,” she said via email.

Tarnacki cited Target as an example. The recent announcement of the chain of stores it will offer more flexibility to retail workers By exchanging shifts, she said, is an indicator of how companies are adjusting.

“Today’s applicants know there are many options at their fingertips when they’re ready to get a job, and they take a wait-and-see approach to finding something that ticks the boxes of whatever they want. are looking for a job, ”Tarnacki said.


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