MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Home-improvement retailer Lowe's Cos. said Tuesday that it plans to hire 45,000 seasonal workers ahead of its busy spring season, a sign that the nascent housing recovery is creating jobs.
Lowe's, based in Mooresville, N.C., also plans to add 9,000 part-time employees on a permanent basis.
On average, seasonal employees will work 20 to 25 hours per week and the length of seasonal employment will vary. Most jobs will start in February. Some could last until September.
The prolonged housing slump hurt home-improvement stores, in part because homeowners have held back on big-ticket renovations. But now, most economists say the housing market is recovering and that the gains should continue this year.
Home prices rose 7.4 percent annually in November, real estate data provider CoreLogic said last week. That's the biggest annual increase since 2006, when the housing bubble burst.
On Tuesday, The National Association of Realtors reported U.S. sales of previously occupied homes dipped in December from November, in part because of a limited supply of available homes. But for all of 2012, sales rose to their highest level in five years.
Lowe's shares rose 45 cents on Tuesday to close at $37.44.