The Home Depot said on Wednesday it would hire 80,000 season workers for its peak season, equivalent to adding 20% to its workforce, while Lowe’s said last month it would hire 53,000 temporary staff as both get ready for the throngs of consumers looking to repair damage done by a hard winter, add a deck to the backyard or install new appliances.
The hiring comes as both companies continue to enjoy strong sales growth: Home Depot’s U.S. comparable sales have grown more that 6% for five years, while Lowe’s, which has chronically underperformed its bigger rival, has also posted good sales increases.
And Home Depot Chief Financial Officer Carol Tomé recently told Fortune that continued home value appreciation, the biggest source of demand for the chain, an aging housing stock and remaining upside in the economic expansion would keep business strong for the foreseeable future.
Home Depot’s hiring is roughly on par with last year’s levels, even as Lowe’s is hiring 8,000 more temps than last year. Home Depot recently said it was essentially doubling its investments in its stores and in tech to $11 billion or so over the next three years. And that focus on tech has even translated into how it hires people: the company said that a new tool it has unveiled for job seekers enables them to self-schedule in-person interviews, a move it says will attract more applicants.
Other retailers approached the holiday season cautiously, initially keeping seasonal hiring at the same levels as 2016. Some, like Macy’s, ended up having a stronger than expected season and later ramped up the hiring.
But the hirings come in a tight job market: the U.S. employment rate was 4.1% last month, staying at its lowest levels in years. The penury of workers has led several retailers to raise wages and benefits. Home Depot and Lowe’s were among the many large U.S. corporations to give workers one-time bonuses in response to the recent U.S. tax reform.