(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ATLANTA -- With almost half a million Georgians out of work, jobs are a top state priority.
And Home Depot, the nation's top home improvement retailer, is answering the call to get people back to work.
Home Depot has created a record-setting 80,000 jobs as it gears up for its busiest and most profitable time of the year. It signals a major turnaround from what the company faced just four years ago.
"If you go back to 2007, 2008 or 2009, we were in the process of closing stores and tightening our belt," said Frank Blake, CEO of Home Depot.
But things have changed.
"We need to flex up with our staffing, and every year it's a great entry point for associates who come in part time during the spring season and then stay on during the rest of the year," Blake said.
For job seekers, it's a chance to get a foot in the door in a cautious economic environment.
"We still think we are going through a workout phase in the housing market. It's getting better but it's a gradual improvement, but it's not until we get into the more significant sales growth that we would really start the engine of adding jobs. We are seeing some of the fundamentals on housing improve, but some of the key indicators like credit availability are keeping a lid on the growth of the market," Blake said.
For the new hires, that signals a chance at full time work.
A key qualification is "a customer focus and somebody who is ready, willing and able to take care of customers," according to Blake.
And the CEO is encouraging veterans to apply.
"You have a better shot because your skills are going to be viewed as connecting better with what we are looking for in the store," he said.
Home Depot hiring continues over the next several weeks. Visit careers.homedepot.com for more information.