Based on a recent analysis, the largest employer in America remains the one that pays the least. Some of its workers make only $11 an hour, despite promises that its lowest-paid workers would get a raise.
Walmart has 10,526 stores worldwide that employ 2.3 million people. Its global revenue last year was $559 billion. However, from the standpoint of the U.S. minimum wage, Walmart has 4,743 U.S. locations and employs about 1.1 million people in America. That makes it the largest company in the country, both by revenue and number of employees.
The open issue recently was described by Business Insider: “All warehouse workers at Walmart make at least $15 per hour. At this point, Walmart’s minimum wage will remain at $11 per hour.” While some Walmart workers will get raises that take their base pay to a range of $13 to $19, it is not clear that will happen to all of what it calls its 425,000 associates.
Proponents of a higher wage at Walmart point out several things about the company’s remarkable financial success and the fortunes of the family of Sam Walton, the founder. In its most recently reported quarter, Walmart had revenue of $138 billion. Its operating profit was $6.9 billion, up 32% from the same quarter a year ago. Its forecast for the year’s earnings was increased.
Forbes says that Alice, Jim and Rob Walton each have a net worth of $62 billion, which makes them among the richest people in America. Rob Walton is on the Walmart board.
Walmart has to contend with two major challenges, based on its pay levels. The first is that a number of companies that have paid very low wages in the past have raised them recently and even have improved their benefits. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has thinned out the number of people who are willing to take low-wage jobs.
Walmart probably has not faced a shortage of workers and potential workers yet, but it may well in the very near future.