Walmart Raises Hourly Wages Again for Workers
Walmart is raising hourly wages for more than 565,000 workers in the latest example of a large employer trying to attract and retain employees in a challenging labor environment. In a memo to employees obtained by CNN Business, Walmart President and CEO John Furner said that starting Sept. 25, associates working in the retailer's front end of the store, food and general merchandise units will get at least a dollar an hour increase. Furner noted in the memo that this was the third such raise in the past 12 months.
"Over the past year, we've raised pay for approximately 1.2 million hourly associates in our U.S. stores, increasing our U.S. average hourly wage to $16.40," said Furner. Walmart's current average pay for associates is $15.25.
Total Retail's Take: Walmart's latest announcement shows just how competitive this year's labor market is. Employers, particularly in the retail, food service and hospitality industry, have faced a labor shortage during the pandemic. In fact, the unemployment rate dropped in July to 5.4 percent, from 5.9 percent. Furthermore, weekly U.S. jobless claims last week dropped by 14,000 to 340,000, the Labor Department said Thursday, the lowest since March 2020.
Walmart's decision to again boost wages for its hourly associates puts the retail behemoth ahead of other retailers, many of which have raised minimum wages to $15 an hour. Walgreens Boots Alliance, for example, said it plans to increase the starting hourly wage for all team members to $15 to be implemented by November. CVS also recently announced its plans to increase pay to $15, effective July 2022. Other retailers such as lululemon athletica, Target and Amazon.com, have also ramped up wages for employees in the recent past. In addition, Target and Walmart also launched debt-free degree programs for their workers who want to pursue higher education in an effort to get more workers through its doors earlier this year.