How to Find a Job: 10 Big Companies Hiring

VIDEO: McDonalds Now Hiring: 50,000
WATCH McDonalds Now Hiring: 50,000 'McJobs'

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

Earlier this year, the internet search giant announced plans to boost its workforce by about 25 percent. The news came as one of its biggest competitors, Yahoo, began laying-off long-time staffers. "At this stage, the number of opportunities just vastly exceed the number of people we have at the company," said Alan Eustace, Google's senior vice president of engineering and research.

6 Intel Increase: 4,000

The CEO of Intel, Paul Otellini, announced plans to add 4,000 U.S. jobs this year in product development and research and development.

7 Quintiles Increase: 1,700

The pharmaceutical company continues its hiring plans despite layoffs earlier this year. "This action affected a small number of employees among a total employee population of more than 20,000 in 60 countries," the company spokesman told WRAL. "While we are making necessary changes in certain areas, we will add resources where they are needed to fuel our growth. It is important to note that we currently have almost 1,700 job requisitions open at Quintiles today."

8 Increase: 1,600

The mammoth online retail giant plans to add 1,600 jobs to its payroll. The online shopping Web site has openings for software developers and advertising salespeople in its careers section.

9 YRC Worldwide Increase: 1,100

The transportation provider announced an initiative to hire more sales professionals in the U.S. "The rising demand for our award-winning services has created the opportunity for us to expand our sales team from coast to coast," said Mike Naatz, president, Customer Care Division & Chief Customer Officer for YRC in a statement.

10 Wells Fargo Increase: 1,000

The banking institute is adding positions in the Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia area for jobs that range from teller to store manager at the previously acquired Wachovia bank. "It's critical that we are fully staffed with enthusiastic, skilled team members in our banking stores," said Pete Jones, Wells Fargo regional president for the Mid-Atlantic region in a statement. "We also hope that, by adding over 1,000 new team members in the next three months, we'll be contributing to the economic recovery in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C."