Walmart is raising the hourly wage of U.S. store workers amidst continued tight labor conditions in the retail sector.
Starting next month, the retailer will be paying an hourly wage of more than $17.50 to nearly 1.6 million workers, up from its current average of $17. In addition, the retailer is offering new perks such as support for college tuition for part- and full-time employees.
The company noted that the wage increases combine regular annual increases and investment in increasing starting rates.
Walmart’s decision to increase pay rates comes at a time when weaker retail sales have led big box retailers such as Macy’s to warn investors of a tough rough ahead. Meanwhile, top companies in the tech sector, such as Amazon, Google, and Meta, have laid off tens of thousands of workers.
That said, the retail sector is trading carefully even with slowing sales as retailers made significant investments in recruiting and training workers after they experienced high churn rates during the peak of the pandemic.
“Any retailer is going to have to think carefully and think twice about laying off a good share of their workforce,” Gregory Daco, chief economist for EY Parthenon, the global strategy consulting arm of Ernst & Young, told CNBC.