With the US economy at long last gaining some traction, big companies that had all but halted hiring in the past few years seem to be coming back in a big way by adding thousands of jobs. Businesses posted 3.1 million job openings in February, according to data released by the Labor Department today, the largest number of openings posted since September 2008.
McDonald's, Intel, Google are three of the 10 companies featured by online publication 24/7 Wall Street in a study of companies that are hiring this year.
The study by the publication and employment consulting firm Challenger Gray & Christmas analyzed data from the past year to create this list of companies that are adding the most jobs.
"We're going to continue to see this gradual up tick [in hiring]," says Doug Arms, a senior vice president at Ajilon Professional Staffing.
There were about 4.4 unemployed people for each available job in February, down from a peak of nearly seven in July 2009, according to data from the Labor Department. During more normal economic times there are about 1.5 to 2.5 unemployed people per available job.
As the economy rumbles along, companies are expected to remain both cautious and steady with hiring practices. "I think you're going to find many companies continue to use project, temporary or contract workers as strategic alternatives for hiring," says Arms. The temporary or contract positions, he adds, could offer "an unbelievable pathway to fulltime work."
Take a look at the top ten companies hiring:
1. Home Depot Increase: 60,000
The building supply company is gearing up for its booming sales season by adding seasonal and full-time employees. "As we have stated in the past, spring is our Christmas and traffic is at its highest during this season," said Craig Menear, executive vice president for Merchandising. "Hiring seasonal associates and offering door busting deals will ensure our customers have all of the service, know-how and value they need as they look to take on outdoor projects to improve the appearance of their home."
2 McDonald's Increase: 50,000
The fast-food company will begin its new campaign to redefine the "McJob" by hiring thousands of workers in positions that range from entry level to management. "The beautiful thing is that with McDonald's you can take your career where you want it to go," said Ashlee Yingling, a McDonald's spokeswoman told ABC News. The company typically pays workers anywhere from around $8 an hour to $50,000 a year.
3 Lowes Increase: 10,000 In January, the company announced plans to add 8,000 to 10,000 to hourly and part-time jobs, mostly on weekends. At the same time, the home improvement retailer is dumping 1,700 middle management jobs.
4 Ford Increase: 7,000
The company announced it will add 7,000 hourly and salaried positions over the next year in positions ranging from engineering to manufacturing. "Ford is committed to American manufacturing, and we are on a path to add more than 7,000 American workers over the next two years as we continue to grow our product lineup," said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas.
5 Google Increase: 6,200