As the labor market continues to experience a scarcity of workers, Walmart said on Tuesday that the food and retail business would boost typical compensation for many colleagues.
In a message, Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner said the retailer would execute price increases at some locations to make its offerings more competitive with its rivals. The national average wage at Walmart now exceeds $17.50 an hour.
“We will begin investing in greater salaries for associates beginning next month,” Furner stated. To guarantee that we have competitive wages in the marketplaces where we operate, we are increasing base pay for thousands of shops and giving raises to existing employees yearly.
According to the Walmart website, the corporation presently employs 1.7 million people in the United States. This makes Walmart one of the largest private-sector employers in the country. The company also announced an increase in associate degrees for which employees can receive tuition reimbursement.
Amazon, another major private sector employer, also announced nationwide wage increases at the end of 2017: the e-commerce giant’s press release stated that starting wages would rise to between $16.00 and $26.00 per hour across the United States, with the average hourly pay for employees in customer fulfillment and transportation increasing above $19.00 per hour.
As a result, pay increases are occurring at a time when both private and public sector businesses are having trouble filling open positions. According to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are now 10.5 million job opportunities but only 5.7 million people actively seeking employment. This indicates a tight labor market contributing to rising prices as companies pay their employees more.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, labor force participation, which measures the percentage of the working-age population that is either employed or actively seeking employment, fell from 63% in early 2020 to roughly 62% in late 2022, despite the ongoing decline in the unemployment rate. Fed Chair Jerome Powell has said that “excess retirements” beyond “what would have been expected from population aging alone” are substantially to blame for the “participation gap” in the workforce, even as younger cohorts mostly return to the job market.
As part of the announcement, Walmart also provided financial incentives for store associates and supply chain workers to take truck driving classes and earn up to $110,000 in their first year on the job. Indeed, the labor market’s tightness has played a role in causing supply chain bottlenecks. The American Trucking Association reports that the US is short 80,000 truck drivers, which might grow to 160,000 by 2030.
As labor shortages continue to hurt businesses, others have announced plans to automate their processes. Chipotle has tried a robotic chip maker in California. In contrast, McDonald’s has opened a test restaurant in Texas where customers can place meals via kiosks and a smartphone app and pick them up off a conveyor belt without dealing with customer-facing workers.