ORLANDO, Fla. -

Home-improvement retailer Lowe's announced Wednesday that it plans to hire 45,000 seasonal workers ahead of its busy spring season, a sign that the early stage of a housing recovery is creating jobs.

Lowe's also plans to add 9,000 part-time employees on a permanent basis.

On average, seasonal employees will work 20 to 25 hours per week. The length of seasonal employment will vary. Most jobs will start in February; some could last until September.

The prolonged housing slump hurt home-improvement stores, in part because homeowners have held back on big-ticket renovations. But now, most economists say the housing market is recovering and that the gains should continue this year.