In preparation for the upcoming holidays, local post offices are looking to hire additional workers as online orders surge.
As preparations for the 2021 winter holidays continue, the U.S. Postal Service is currently hiring more than 40,000 seasonal positions — some of which are in Ceres. It’s the agency’s peak season for mail and package deliveries, and the already-busy period has been amplified by the pandemic.
“We’ve got two in the cue that’s supposed to be coming on board and then we’ve got Christmas help that’s supposed to be coming on board,” said Ceres Postmaster Lee Hoskins. “What’s usually happening is people apply and then we move forward, notify them of what they have to do next. Some of them aren’t responding.”
When applicants don’t respond the post office has to go through the process all over again.
“Right now we are attempting to get those positions filled.”
Both city and rural mail carrier slots need filling in Ceres, as well as a window clerk, he said.
Hoskins always tell people to apply and if no jobs are available in Ceres other post offices are looking.
“We had a person come to the counter last week in Ceres and we told them to told them to go apply in Sonora, Modesto or Turlock,” said Hoskins.
The Ceres Post Office employs about 35 workers.
While e-commerce was already an expanding industry prior to COVID-19, the virus forced even more shoppers online. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, online sales in 2020 increased 32.4 percent from 2019 to 2020. E-commerce revenue hit $791.70 billion last year, up from $598.02 billion in 2019 and representing the highest rate of annual online sales growth for which data is available.
According to USPS communications program specialist Meiko Patton, the positions aren’t just short-term jobs, but opportunities for a long-term career which can help make a difference in the community. Openings include but are not limited to mail carriers, mail handlers and drivers.
“Our entire organization is focused on delivering a successful holiday season. To make this happen, we need great people to join us to deliver for our local communities and our nation,” said CEO and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. “The Postal Service offers many opportunities for seasonal employment. For many, a seasonal role can be the start of an exciting career with the Postal Service.”
An August survey conducted by YouGov and released on Monday shows that about six in 10 consumers (62 percent) will shop online this holiday season, and more than half plan to start prior to Halloween so that they can avoid any potential supply-chain disruptions. While that number is down from 71 percent in 2020 when many COVID shutdowns were still in place, it’s significantly higher than the number of online shoppers in 2019 (51 percent).
According to Patton, USPS workers are responsible for many of those deliveries.
“One thing Americans’ have learned to value throughout the pandemic is the United States Postal Service and we are proud to be their shipper of choice,” Patton said. “We have continued to deliver vital goods and services to the public, keeping them connected and supplied.”
In addition to hiring, the Postal Service is preparing for the higher delivery demands of the 2021 holiday peak season by leasing millions of additional square feet of mail and package sortation facilities and installing new processing equipment to accommodate higher mail and package volumes. The Postal Service generally receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to fund its operations.
Job seekers can find and apply for open positions by visiting usps.com/hiring.
(Angelina Martin contributed to this article).