Wal-Mart: We're hiring 22,000

World's biggest retailer expects to add more than 1,000 jobs at new stores in several states - including California, Florida and Michigan - this year.

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By Parija B. Kavilanz, CNNMoney.com senior writer

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Thursday that it expects to hire more than 22,000 people to staff its new or expanded domestic stores this year.

"During this difficult economic time, we're proud to be able to create quality jobs for thousands of Americans this year," Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman of Wal-Mart U.S., said in a statement.

Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), the world's largest retailer, had previously announced it would open 142 to 157 stores new or expanded stores in 2009, which is fewer than the total number of its new or expanded stores in 2008. The company did not specify how many stores it opened last year.

Wal-Mart added 33,000 jobs in the United States last year, according to the annual report released in April.

The company said it will add 1,000 or more workers in each of 8 states: Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.

The retailer said the new hires will fill positions across its business units, including cashiers and sales associates, as well as pharmacists, human resource managers and customer service associates.

The discounter said benefits, including health plans that offer customized health coverage options, will be offered to its full and part-time workers.

Wal-Mart is the largest private-sector employer in the United States with a workforce of 1.45 million. Its total worldwide workforce is more than 2 million.

The announcement comes on the eve of the government's May report on national employment, which is expected to remain bleak. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com forecast that the unemployment rate will rise to a 25-year high of 9.2%, with 520,000 jobs lost last month.  To top of page

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