Nightly News | December 01, 2012
>>> news that shipping companies are hiring thousands of new workers right now to keep up with the christmas demand should come as good news to many americans who have been sitting on the sidelines in this weak job market . yet surprisingly companies are having a hard time filling some of those jobs. nbc's michelle franzen tells us why.
>> reporter: they are the elves to retailers, the major distribution companies, and workers making sure all those gifts ordered online are processed and delivered on time for the holidays. with record-setting online sales this shopping season, companies like amazon, ebay, and u.p.s. are struggling to hire enough workers to meet the demand.
>> we're hiring 50,000 seasonal associates across our entire network in the u.s. to help meet demand.
>> reporter: u.p.s. set a similar goal to hire 55,000 seasonal workers but the company says several thousand jobs are still waiting to be filled, including positions at its largest hub in louisville, kentucky. the jobs pay between $8.50 and $12 an hour and some companies are even offering cash incentives to employees for referrals. analysts say the challenge for those looking for work? taking a temporary position that may not turn into a full-time job.
>> you run the risk of losing those unemployment benefits for that period and if it doesn't become a full-time job, then you have to go through the rigmarole of going back onto unemployment benefits .
>> reporter: u.p.s. estimates it will move a record 527 million packages between thanksgiving and christmas, a 10% jump from last year. and further proof, holiday shoppers are continuing to shift from in store to online buying. with just over three weeks left to shop, companies will be under even more pressure to deliver your packages even if they can't fill those jobs. michelle franzen , nbc news, new york.