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Walmart lifts US wages in stores again amid tight labor market

By AFP

25 Jan 2023

Business

Image: Walmart Picture Gallery

Walmart announced Tuesday it will again raise pay for hourly staff, an indication of persistent tightness in the labor market for front-line employees despite layoffs in the tech sector.

The retail giant, the biggest private employer in the United States, is boosting the pay range at US stores to between 14 and 19 dollars an hour from the prior 12 to 18 dollars an hour.

That lifts Walmart's minimum wage to 14 dollars an hour, well above the 7.25 dollar federal minimum wage, but below California and some other states and jurisdictions that have set the level at 15 dollars or greater.

Rival chains such as Amazon and Target also currently have a 15 dollar minimum wage.

Walmart said its latest hike lifts its national wage average to more than 17.50 dollars an hour beginning March 2.

The company also announced other perks for employees, including new job-training opportunities and an expansion in a program that helps supply chain workers obtain a commercial driver's license.

The retailer's announcement is a sign that the job market remains tight for hourly staff, even as tech giants such as Google parent Alphabet and Facebook parent Meta announced significant job cuts.

Walmart has undertaken a series of wage hikes during the pandemic, including in September 2021 when the starting wage was boosted to 12 to 17 dollars an hour.

US unemployment dipped to 3.5 percent in December as employers added a surprisingly robust 223,000 jobs, according to government data.(AFP)

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