Walmart hikes its minimum wage for 340,000 employees in bid to retain workforce

On Tuesday, Walmart, America’s largest private employer, announced that it is raising its minimum wage from $12 to $14 an hour in February, affecting approximately 340,000 employees in 3,000 stores, which is about 20% of its 1.6 million-strong workforce in the United States.

(Video Credit: Eyewitness News ABC7NY)

Some Walmart stores will increase the minimum hourly wage to $19 an hour, according to a spokesperson for the company. An estimated 94% of Walmart workers are hourly employees.

The move increases Walmart’s average wage to $17.50 an hour, the same as Costco’s in the US, according to the Daily Mail.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Costco officially raised its minimum wage to $17 an hour in 2021 and on Tuesday, its CFO Richard Galanti asserted that the minimum was in fact $17.50.

Walmart also announced in a memo from its CEO and President John Furner the rollout of a program that will provide its workers in “stores, distribution centers, fulfillment centers” with routes to become delivery drivers.

The company intends to expand that program, “which pays for supply chain associates to earn their commercial driver’s license and become a Walmart truck driver earning up to $110,000 in their first year.”

Despite the huge jump in hourly pay, Walmart still trails Amazon, Costco, and Target, which have been offering at least $15 an hour for a minimum wage since 2021.

Walmart has more stores in southeastern states such as Texas, Mississippi, and Georgia, than Costco. Those states haven’t increased the minimum wage in recent years.

The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour. Twenty states do not impose a minimum wage above the federal minimum. The Department of Labor reports that wage has not been raised since 2009.

“We expect these raises will bring our US average hourly wage to more than $17.50. They’ll be reflected in March 2 paychecks,” Furner announced in a press release.

Walmart hiked the average pay for pharmacy workers to over $20 an hour six months ago. The company announced that it would be offering more frequent and automatic pay raises as part of a new “progressive wage model” to fight labor shortages in a tight employment market. The company has also raised pay for truck drivers and distribution center workers.

But for some leftists, it will never be enough. A number of liberals are unbelievably calling for Walmart to pay a minimum wage of $20 an hour for its employees across the board. It’s hard to understand how the company could stay afloat with that kind of expenditure and it would almost certainly lead to “job destruction.”

Walmart’s announcement includes a mix of regular annual pay increases the company gives to hourly workers as well as “target investments in starting rates for thousands of stores,” the company said in a statement.

According to CNN Business, “While dozens of companies, including Walmart, have laid off corporate staff in recent months, demand for service industry workers remains strong. Walmart currently has nearly 30,000 store jobs listed on its hiring website.”

Wage growth in the US has started to slow. Data is showing that the average hourly earnings growth for workers dropped to 0.3 percent in December from 0.4 percent in November.

The federal government is claiming that unemployment remained at 3.5 percent in December. Many Americans find that exceedingly hard to believe. Job openings still outnumber the number of unemployed as well, according to the government.

The result of all this is that the Federal Reserve is likely to raise interest rates again which will hurt those on minimum wage even more as they struggle to make ends meet.

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