Home Depot hiring 70,000 seasonal workers

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Jan 18, 2012

Jeremy Hobson:Later this morning, the National Homebuilders Association will tell us how builders are feeling about the housing market. And here’s one indication we could get some good news: one company appears confident home owners want to invest in their properties. Home Depot has just announced it’s going to hire 70,000 seasonal workers over the next few months. Now how many of those temps will land permanent jobs?

We asked Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall-Genzer to find out.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer:  My vegetable garden is a sad tangle of weeds and cold mud. Spring planting is the last thing on my mind.

But hardware stores are already hiring extra hands for their busiest season. Home Depot spokesman Stephen Holmes says half of last year’s seasonal workers were slotted into permanent jobs as they opened up.

Stephen Holmes: So it’s a great chance to get your foot in the door. And it’s a great chance for us to see associates, meet new associates.

Princeton labor economist Henry Farber says Home Depot’s permanent hiring may be a sign that the economy is improving. People stay in their jobs when the economy is really bad. Only venturing into new positions when things get better. 

Henry Farber: I think Home Depot could actually expect a bit more turnover than they have in the past. So it’s quite reasonable to think they would have permanent positions to fill.

Overall, Home Depot employs 4,000 more people today than it did in 2009, for a total of about 300,000.

I’m Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

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