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Walmart lifts wages at US stores again amid tight labor market

(AFP)

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 an hour from the prior $12 to $18 an hour.

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

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

Walmart said its latest hike lifts its national wage average to more than $17.50 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 announce 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 an hour.

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

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