Wal-Mart announced Thursday it will increase starting wages and employees will receive bonuses of up $1,000.
The nation’s largest private employer was the latest in a string of many large American corporations announcing similar moves in direct response to President Trump’s recent tax overhaul.
Starting employees at Wal-Mart will now earn $11 an hour, up from $9 and employees will receive bonuses between $200 and $1000 based on longevity at the company.
The same day, Wal-Mart also announce the closure of several of its Sam’s Club warehouses, with Business Insider reporting that number to be 63 units of the 660 nationwide.
“We’ve seen wage stagnation for many years, so it’s super important for lower-wage workers to see their wages rise,” economist Elise Gould told Bloomberg regarding the news. “It’s due to two factors — state-level increases and a tightening labor market.”
California, Washington, and D.C. all enforce an $11 minimum wage, with New York, Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Oregon enforcing that number next year.
According to Bloomberg, “Average hourly earnings for production and non-supervisory workers were up 2.3 percent in December from a year earlier, according to Labor Department figures. In the previous economic uptick, wage growth peaked in December 2006 at 4.2 percent on a year-over-year basis.”
Economists are hopefully that as companies are freed to increase their own pay hikes, wage stagnation may loosen in the current economic expansion.
American’s unemployment rate has also dropped to 4.1 percent from 5.7 percent since Wal-Mart announcement of higher wages in 2015, stirring an effort to recruit cashiers and shelf stockers, according to Bloomberg.