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Business of the Holidays

UPS Expects Big Jump in Holiday Deliveries in December

Where: Worldwide. When: Dec. 22. That's the date UPS anticipates will be 2014's busiest delivery day. The company said Wednesday that it expects to deliver 11 percent more packages worldwide this December compared to last year. That works out to 585 million packages or, according to UPS, enough side-by-side to circle the Earth nearly 4.5 times (assuming 1 cu. ft each).

The company has said it will be hiring an army of workers 90,000 to 95,000 strong to handle the holiday surge, driven by ever-increasing online shopping. UPS rival Fedex also has predicted a busy holiday season, with December shipments up 8.8 percent from last year. Both companies are sanguine about holiday sales this year, despite mixed predictions. The National Retail Federation, the industry's trade association, has forecast a 4.1 percent increase, spurred by lower gas prices, an improving labor market and no government shutdown standoff. But accounting firm PwC has projected that average household spending is expected to decline to $684 this year, down from $735 in 2013.

Holiday retail outlook 2:12

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