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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Retailers and shippers are on a mad pre-holiday hiring spree, making them one of the few industries adding jobs during COVID-19.

Why it matters: With the entire country turning to online shopping, shippers across the U.S. are preparing for unprecedented package volumes — around 80 million per day between Thanksgiving and Christmas — and frustrating delays.

Between the lines: This should finally erase any distinctions between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Retailers are also quickly building out warehouses and adding alternatives to delivery.

  • Amazon has announced the addition of seven new warehouses in just the last month, notes Recode's Jason Del Rey.
  • Walmart is adding pop-up warehouses.
  • Kohl's and Target have doubled parking spaces for customers taking advantage of curbside pickup, per AP.

The bottom line: 7 million packages could experience delays per day between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the president of ShipMatrix, Satish Jindel, tells the AP.

Go deeper

The silver lining in 2020's weak Black Friday sales

Data: Placer.ai; Chart: Axios Visuals

Black Friday was disappointing for retailers this year, as spending numbers underwhelmed and foot traffic declined dramatically, according to data from analytics firm Placer.ai.

By the numbers: Customer visits were down, on average, more than 26% compared to Black Friday 2019 at the six retailers Placer tracked.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker

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