Walmart Raises Minimum Wage to $14 an Hour Amid Hot Labor Market

Walmart is raising its minimum hourly wage to $14 an hour for U.S. store employees, which will bring its average hourly U.S. wage to more than $17.50.

The retailer’s U.S. president and CEO John Furner announced the wage hikes in a memo to all U.S. workers and said that starting wages at Walmart stores will now vary between $14 and $32 per hour, depending on role and location. Sam’s Club workers’ wages start at $15 and distribution and fulfillment center wages start at $16 an hour.

Walmart’s previous minimum wage was $12 an hour.

“As a company, our goal is to offer competitive pay by role and by market, with the kind of opportunity and room for career growth that isn’t found anywhere else,” Walmart said in a post on its website explaining the changes. Walmart added that it plans to continue to raise pay and invest in higher wages. These pay raises will be reflecting in paychecks starting March 2. 

Walmart is also introducing new benefits for employees, including new degrees for its education program and new openings for its truck diver training program, in which participants can earn up to $110,000 driving for Walmart in their first year.

The new investment comes as retailers looks to attract and retain talent amid a tight job market and rising wages. The U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs In December, beating estimates of 200,000 jobs, and the unemployment dropped slightly from November to 3.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Throughout 2022, job growth in retail trade averaged 16,000 per month, which is less than half of the average growth of 35,000 per month in 2021.

Average hourly earnings rose by 9 cents, or 0.3%, to $32.82 in December. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.6%. Meanwhile, inflation continues to soar while showing some signs of improvement. As of the start of the year, more than 20 states raised their minimum wage to hit $15 an hour or account for higher costs of living.

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