Walmart Stores Inc. on Thursday announced that it would raise the minimum hourly rate for its U.S. workers to $11, according to various media outlets, in a move that could have ripple effects in the middle-market retail economy.
The change, which will go into effect in February, raises Walmart’s minimum wage from its current level of $10. The increase is expected to lift average hourly pay for the retailer’s full-time U.S. store employees to $14.50 from $13.85, according to The Wall Street Journal. It marks the third such increase by the company since 2015.
Wage hikes across the industry appear likely as companies struggle to attract workers.
“The labor market will continue to tighten in 2018 with the economy generating about 150,000 jobs per month as firms find it increasingly more difficult to obtain qualified individuals to fill open positions,” according to RSM US LLP Chief Economist Joseph Brusuelas in the firm’s most recent “The Real Economy” report.
In RSM’s 2017 survey of middle-market executives from across industries, 42 percent of respondents said they struggled to fill unskilled positions, and more than half said they were offering higher pay to attract such workers.
That trend is unlikely to slow now that the largest private sector employer in the world is upping employee pay.
Kathryn Mulligan is the associate editor of Middle Market Growth.