Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Walmart, the company with the most employees in the United States, increased the minimum wage by 17%

The United States has not increased the minimum wage for the entire country to $7.25 an hour (about 6.7 euros at the current exchange rate) since 2009. Nearly half of the states in the country set higher starting levels. Now, one of the first to step in is the company that employs the most workers in the US, delivery giant Walmart. The company has decided to increase the minimum wage of its employees from $12 to $14 an hour, which is 16.7%.

The company has already raised its workers’ minimum wage from $11 to $12 in 2021, with no change three years later. With the new growth, they gain some purchasing power against inflation that reaches 9.1% in mid-2022 and closes the year at 6.5%. This is quite indicative in a labor market in which the unemployment rate is 3.5%, the lowest in half a century. Companies are having trouble bringing in employees (or keeping the ones they already have). Given this, they are opting for wage increases, as the example of Walmart shows.

The head of the business in the United States, John Furner, has informed of the decision to raise wages in a message to employees: “Starting next month, we will start investing in higher salaries,” he said. The increase will be reflected in the payrolls of March 2, he specified. The measure involves a combination of general annual increases for employees and specific increases in the starting salaries of thousands of stores, “to guarantee attractive remuneration in the markets” in which the group operates. “We expect these increases to bring the average hourly wage in the United States above $17.50,” Ferner said.

With the increase, Walmart store employees such as stock clerks and cashiers will earn between $14 and $19 an hour, up from the current range of $12 to $18. The group has 2.3 million employees worldwide, of whom approximately 1.6 million are in the United States. Lakhs will be benefited from the reform.

Walmart’s pay had fallen far below other competitors in its industry. Companies like Costco, Best Buy, Target, Aldi or even e-commerce giant Amazon, the second largest US company with the largest workforce, pay a minimum wage of at least $15 an hour. Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said last year that the minimum wage nationwide should rise to about $15, more than double what it currently is.

The setting of the minimum wage rests with Congress. Democrats are in favor of increasing it significantly, but they do not have the majority to do so. In the United States, the median wage for all non-agricultural workers is $32.82 per hour, according to the latest statistics.

In addition to the salary increase, Walmart has also announced that it will add new degrees and university certificates to its Live Better You educational program, which will provide scholarships to employees who want to study.

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Nation World News Desk
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