Home Depot Inc. plans to add more than 80,000 temporary workers ahead of its busiest season, about 14 percent more than a year ago, as a housing rebound spurs spending on remodeling and landscaping.
The largest U.S. home-improvement retailer is hiring mostly seasonal workers, though some will be offered full-time work, said Tim Crow, Home Depot's executive vice president of human resources. Last year more than half of 70,000 temporary employees were given permanent jobs, he said.
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Home Depot is adding workers to run cash registers and work in the garden and other departments this spring as Lowe's Cos. boosts seasonal hiring by 13 percent. Analysts estimate that Atlanta-based Home Depot, which has about 331,000 workers, will report a 10 percent rise in fiscal fourth-quarter sales, the biggest quarterly gain since 2007.
"We anticipate good growth in our sales this spring," Crow, 57, said in a telephone interview yesterday. He declined to disclose sales projections. "Our business pops in the spring."
Home Depot gained 0.4 percent to $66.67 at the close in New York. The shares have climbed in the past four years, advancing 47 percent in 2012 when the Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 13 percent.
Home prices in 20 U.S. cities in November rose by the most in more than six years, fueled by mortgage rates near a record low. The S&P/Case-Shiller Index of property values increased 5.5 percent from November 2011, the biggest year-over-year gain since August 2006.
Home Depot, which has more than 2,200 stores, plans to hire 3,500 springtime workers in New York and New Jersey, after hiring about 2,000 in those two states to handle traffic generated by repairs from Superstorm Sandy, Crow said.
The chain plans to add 6,700 seasonal workers in Canada, he said. It is using an online tool to help military veterans and reservists match their skills with positions the retailer is filling, after making 10,000 such hires last year, Crow said.
Lowe's, the second-biggest home-improvement retailer, said last month it plans to hire 45,000 part-time seasonal workers and another 9,000 permanent employees. The Mooresville, North Carolina-based company added about 40,000 seasonal workers last year.
Underwater borrowers -- or those who owed more on their mortgages than their houses were worth -- fell by almost 4 million last year to 7 million, and could drop to 4 million by the end of 2015, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.
"We can start to see the housing market as an assist to our growth rather than an anchor," Home Depot's Chief Executive Officer Frank Blake said on a conference call Nov. 13. "We're not lighting rockets over this and we don't want to get out over our skis, but we're starting to see the recovery of the housing market."