Walmart raises starting salaries for store employees - Liberty

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Walmart raises starting salaries for store employees


Walmart is to implement pay increases for store employees in March. Charles Krupa

Walmart, the nation's largest private employer, is sharply increasing starting salaries for its store workers as it struggles to recruit and retain workers amid a tight retail labor market.

In a note to employees Tuesday, the retail giant said it would raise the minimum wage for store employees from $12 to $18 an hour, and that it would raise the hourly wage range from $14 to $19.

Walmart's U.S. chief business officer, John Farner, said in a memo that the price increases were "to ensure competitive wages in the markets in which we operate." The move will affect approximately 340,000 of his 1.3 million frontline hourly employees working in stores nationwide.

For years, Walmart has come under pressure from unions, policymakers, and activists to raise wages for its store workers. The pay increases announced Tuesday will lift the average salary across Walmart stores from about $17 to approximately $17.50 an hour, but the company's average wage still lags competitors such as Costco.

“We want to make sure we attract the best associates,” Walmart spokeswoman Anne Hatfield said in an interview.

This time his March rate hike comes at a time when inflation is still high, making it especially difficult for low-wage workers whose salaries are being stretched by the cost of food, fuel, and other necessities.

Walmart's move is also an oddly optimistic sign for the economy as a whole. One of the country's largest companies is taking steps to retain its employees despite other major employers announcing layoffs.

Mark Zandy, the chief economist at Moody's Analytics, said he was surprised Walmart raised wages "massively" given the risk of a recession.

"This shows that Walmart doesn't think the economy is going into recession soon, or if it does, it thinks it will be in a mild recession in the short term," Zandy said in an email. showing," he said. There is,' he said.

The move may also reflect retailers' long-term challenges in retaining workers as baby boomers age and the workforce shrinks, he said.

While the price hike would ease the inflationary burden on Walmart workers, it could inadvertently perpetuate the problem far and wide by pushing up wages in other sectors of the economy.

"Walmart's move to raise the minimum wage could complicate wage pressures and the Fed's efforts to contain inflation," Zandi said. Hospitality and personal service where the Fed is focused on fighting inflation. ”