Microsoft expects to hire roughly 6,000 to 7,000 workers over the next 12 months, the company said Friday, though it is unclear how many of those hires will be filling new posts.

The company said about 3,000 of the hires are expected to be in the Seattle area, but a representative said the company doesn't know how many of the recruits will be for new jobs and how many will fill vacancies created through attrition.

"With more than 28,000 of our 57,000 worldwide employees working at locations throughout the Puget Sound, we remain very committed to the region," a Microsoft representative said in an e-mail.

In its just-completed fiscal year, Microsoft said, it hired 4,000 to 5,000 people and ended the year with 57,086 employees, up from 54,923 a year earlier. That marked a gain of a little more than 2,000 workers, with about half that growth in the United States and about half overseas.

Last July, Microsoft said it planned to add 5,000 workers, including about 3,000 to 3,500 in the United States.

The job plans follow Microsoft's earnings report Thursday, in which the company announced better-than-expected revenue, though earnings fell short of some expectations. The company also on Tuesday announced plans to return $75 billion to shareholders over the next four years through a boosted dividend, a stock buyback and a one-time $32 billion payout to investors.

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