Walmart announced an increase in base pay on Tuesday for its associates that will bring its average hourly pay to “more than” $17.50 an hour.
“We’re proud to continue investing in Walmart’s legacy by introducing new job opportunities and raising pay,” John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., wrote in a note to employees.
“Walmart’s starting hourly wage rates vary by region and role and have the following ranges: For store formats (e.g. Supercenter, Neighborhood Market grocery format): $14 to $32 per hour,” the site says.
Walmart’s 1.7 million U.S. workers also make it the nation’s largest private employer.
A spokesperson for Walmart told CNBC that, prior to this change, store associates made from $12 to $18 an hour. Now, the range will jump, to between $14 and $19 an hour. The change will be evident in March 2 paychecks for employees, Furner wrote.
Walmart is one of the many retail companies struggling to hire workers, as CNN noted — there are currently about 30,000 job openings. This has led to some minor wage competition. Amazon announced small pay raises for warehouse associates in October.
However, the retail trade sector lost jobs in November’s 2022 Job Openings and Labor Turnover report, while the overall job market remained robust.
Gregory Daco, chief economist at EY Parthenon, told CNBC it’s easier for companies like Walmart to avoid the large layoffs that are currently plaguing the tech sector because of labor churn, i.e., high turnover.
But Walmart raising its pay has a ripple effect, as it often functions as a local “minimum wage” as CNN noted.
“Hourly workers are still hard to find, and companies are continuing to compete for them by raising wages,” said Andy Challenger, senior vice president at labor firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, per CNN.