Mega-supply store Home Depot plans to add about 80,000 temporary workers for the spring season.
At Home Depot, hiring occurs each spring when the company brings in temp workers for around three months. In this regard, it’s no different than any other retailer, says Stephan Holmes, a Home Depot spokesman.
“Our busy season is actually in the spring, in fact, we call that our Christmas,” Holmes says.
Still, 80,000 workers is big number, especially when you consider that the U.S. has more temp workers than ever. But economist Susan Houseman of the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research says it isn’t fair to lay blame for this at the feet of the Home Depots of the world.
“Seasonal hiring is very common in industries like construction, wholesale, manufacturing, etcetera,” Houseman says. Roughly half of Home Depot’s seasonal hires end up with permanent positions, she says.
There are other ways to address seasonality while still providing permanent jobs with benefits.
“It’s also true that there are a lot of companies out there that are in seasonal industries that have a much different approach,” says Roland Zullo, a University of Michigan labor market researcher. Many seasonal industries find it beneficial to keep workers on, Zullo says.
“Instead they keep them on to do other things, other kind of maintenance work, and then when the peak season hits they give people a lot of overtime,” he says. This approach helps companies save on training and planning, he says, while building a more loyal workforce with a better quality of life.
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