Seasonal hiring is at the highest level in five years. Retailers are expected to add as many as 625,000 temporary workers, up from 607,000 workers last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Walmart and Amazon both expect to hire about 50,000 additional employees nationwide. Kohl’s will add 52,700 workers, a 10% increase over last year.

Shippers are also adding to the seasonal workforce. UPS plans to hire 55,000 seasonal workers to help handle the 527 million packages the company expects to deliver between Thanksgiving and Christmas. FedEx anticipates handling more than 280 million shipments during the same time. The company plans to hire 20,000 seasonal workers, the same as last year.

These are among the highlights of the most recent logistics numbers reflected in a Logistics Market Snapshot, courtesy of the Georgia Center of Innovation. Here are the rest of those highlights:

Transportation Indexes:

• The Dow Jones Transportation index remained flatduring the month of October. (Based on stock performance of twenty large, well-known U.S. companies in the transportation industry, average of October 10th thru November 10th)

• NASDAQ Transportation Index rose 3.6%in October. (Averaged share weights of NASDAQ-listed companies classified as transportation companies, average of October 10th thru November 10th)

• The October shipments index fell 1.4%over the previous month and rose 5.4%year-over-year. The October expenditures index increased 1.6%for the month, and increased 8.4%year over year. (Source: Cass Information Systems | Cassinfo.com) (Based upon transportation dollars and shipments of Cass clients comprised of over 400 shipping companies)

• The USDOT's freight transportation services index rose 0.2%in September 2012. The index’s reading of 109.2 was 15.8% higherthan the April 2009 low during the recession. (Source: US DOT)

Imports and Exports:

• In September, the U.S. imported about $228.5 billionof cargo. September U.S. imports have increased 1.5%in terms of value from August, and grew 1.5%year-over-year. (Source: US Census)

• In September, the U.S. exported more than $187 billion of cargo. September U.S. exports have decreased 3.1% in terms of value over the previous month and grew 3.5% year-over-year. (Source: US Census)

• U.S. import prices rose 0.5% in October. Import prices rose 0.4% over the past year. The price index for U.S. exports remained the same in October, following a 0.8% increase in September. Export prices increased 1.4% year-over-year. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Rail:

• Railroad bulk carload freight in October 2012 fell 2.1% from September 2012. Freight traffic in October fell 6.1% from October 2011. Carloads excluding coal and grain increased 3.4% over the previous year. (Source: AAR.org) (Report includes rail car-loadings by 19 different major commodity categories as well as intermodal units)

• Intermodal rail traffic in October 2012 was 1.5% higher than in October 2011 and 1.2% lower than September 2012 totals. Intermodal loadings experienced year-over-year gains for 35 straight months. (Source: AAR.org) (Report includes rail car-loadings by 19 different major commodity categories as well as intermodal units)