NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- United Parcel Service expects to hire 50,000 seasonal employees to work this holiday season, the company disclosed Wednesday.
The total is unchanged from last year, a company spokesman said, amending an earlier statement that the hiring would set a record.
The company is ramping up hiring for short-term positions in anticipation of a spike in business during its "peak season," which covers the holiday period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The hiring process will begin this month and will continue until all open positions are filled, UPS said. A "significant number" of the the seasonal employees will be offered permanent positions that last beyond January, when most of the seasonal jobs will end.
Toys 'R' Us said it would hire 45,000 seasonal employees for the holiday season, doubling its workforce. Best Buy said it will hire roughly 29,000 employees, matching last year's total.
Despite these developments, the overall trend in holiday hiring is expected to be little changed versus last year, according to a recent study from outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
John Challenger, the group's chief executive, said he expects to see an increase in seasonal hiring this year, but the levels will remain below those achieved in previous years. "There is still a lot of doubt about the sustainability of this economy," he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, two reports issued Wednesday paint a grim picture of the job market.
Private sector employers cut 39,000 jobs in September -- a turn toward the negative after the private sector added jobs for seven straight months before, according to a report by payroll processing firm Automatic Data Processing.
UPS and FedEx employ teams of meteorologists whose nightmare is a "big snow or ice storm at one of our hubs" during the peak holiday shipping season. More
Unilever sued Hampton Creek over its egg-free mayonnaise spread Just Mayo. But the company behind Best Foods and Hellman's mayonnaise has now dropped the lawsuit. More
Retired union workers could see their pensions cut under a controversial new law, but many say they're not sure how they'll make ends meet if big cuts go through. More