Walmart said it's giving U.S. workers pay raises next month, increasing starting wages to between $14 and $19 an hour.
Company President CEO John Furner told employees in a memo Tuesday that the pay raises will be reflected in their March 2 paychecks and will come through a combination of targeted and regular annual pay increases.
Workers at 3,000 stores will get raises, increasing average pay to $17.50 an hour from $17. Starting wages currently range between $12 and $18 an hour, depending on location.
Stiff competition amid labor shortage
The competition for low-wage retail workers remains fierce even as companies scale back on hiring, amid a lingering labor shortage. Walmart and its competitors have raised wages several times in recent years and added benefits to retain workers, including covering in vitro fertilization, fertility testing and financial help with surrogacy and adoption.
The newest pay raises brings Walmart, the country's largest retailer and biggest private employer, closer to many of its competitors, including Target and Amazon.
Targetadopted minimum wages that range from $15 to $24 an hour, with the highest pay going to hires in the most competitive markets. It currently pays a universal starting wage of $15 an hour. Amazon also pays a of $15 an hour, with wages going up to $22.50 an hour in regions where labor markets are tight.
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