The Home Depot is hiring about 1,000 temporary workers in Orange County beginning this month -- ahead of an anticipated busy season for remodeling and construction this spring.
The new jobs are among 80,000 new temporary positions nationwide, 10,000 more than last year.
The employees will work three to four months, depending on the position and need at individual stores, said Frank Sarwell, regional director for human resources for the Western division.
Some positions may become permanent.
During the same period last year, the company hired about 900 seasonal employees at Orange County's 23 Home Depot locations.
Most of the additional positions will be in customer service on the store floor, at cashier counters and in the garden department, while a few will be in freight. Local Home Depot stores are starting to get busy, so store managers are now interviewing, Sarwell said.
Home Depot especially is encouraging returning veterans to apply. The retailer has added an Online Military Skills Translator, a tool designed to help translate and match an applicant's military skills with open positions.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry recently reported significant growth in "current and future remodeling conditions" during the last quarter of 2012 and is forecasting that remodeling will surge during the first quarter of 2013 nationally. The group cited improving home prices and homeowners finally tackling projects they had postponed.
In Orange County, remodeling projects picked up in the last four months of 2012, said Paul Paniagua, a spokesman for the association's local chapter. For example, he said, his own company, All Pro Builders Inc. in Fullerton, started two new projects in recent months.
"During the recession, we did a total of four," Paniagua said.
Still, he said, it's too early to tell whether remodeling projects in general are starting to pick up, noting the brief and erratic surges in new projects in recent years, he said.
Home improvement stores could get a boost from the increase in new homes under construction locally, said Michael E. Balsamo, chief executive of the Building Industry Association of Orange County.
An estimated 6,000 new homes are being built in Orange County, he said.
"What does happen when a new community is constructed is that those residents who move in spend at home improvement stores," Balsamo said. "There are studies that indicate that those residents spend a considerable time and amount of money in stores like Home Depot and Lowe's.
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