Lowe’s announced plans this week to hire 54,000 part-time workers during the spring season. The home improvement retailer says that 9,000 of the jobs will be permanent.

Both the seasonal and permanent jobs will be split between locations around the country. The company said there are 63 stores in Georgia and a distribution center in Valdosta. Another distribution center will open in Rome later this year.

Lowe’s will hire around 26 workers per store for the spring and summer. It employs 8,500 workers in Georgia currently. The company, based in North Carolina, has about 1,745 locations in the US, Canada and Mexico.

This is a major hiring initiative, especially in the area, which is home to Atlanta-based Home depot. Home Depot has not announced its hiring plans for the spring.

Lowe’s said it’s hiring in customer support, including cashiers, lawn and garden specialists, loaders and stockers. The average work week will be 20 to 25 hours, but actual hours will be based on needs of individual stores, the company said in a release. The seasonal jobs will continue through September, the company said.

Companies are relying more on part-timers to fill specific needs and they are using the opportunity to identify permanent workers who “fit in” with the company’s culture. It’s an interview process that lasts several months instead of one that lasts a few hours, according to John Challenger of the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., who spoke to the AJC.

Lowe’s announcement comes on the heels of robust hiring over the Christmas holiday, according to Challenger, who said U.S. retailers added 728,300 jobs in October, November and December, a 10 percent increase over the same period a year earlier.

While the jobs of many of the seasonal workers ended after the holiday season, some became full-timers while others kept their part-time positions beyond the holiday. Actual numbers on how many jobs were retained after the holiday, however, were not available.

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