FedEx is expecting to ship 280 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, a 13% improvement on last year's figures that means the Memphis-based company will hire 20,000 additional workers to handle the surge. FedEx attributed its growing shipment figures to the ever-increasing popularity of online shopping, predicting sales driven by personal electronics, apparel, and luxury goods, among other things, the AP reports.
FedEx's sales are widely seen as an economic indicator, giving investors a peek into consumer demand and confidence, Reuters explains. But FedEx warned that overall it saw the global economy stalling and expects conditions to worsen next year. It added that the weak economy could lure yet more consumers to put off gift buying and to shop for cheaper gifts online. "We always see a significant push for last-minute orders, and a lot of it has to do with procrastination," one executive said, "which, for FedEx is a good thing." (Read more FedEx stories.)