The day that the Republican majority in Congress actually passed the Trump era tax package and cuts, a number of U.S. corporations, large-scale employers with HUGE numbers on their balance sheets, signaled their approval of the deal by announcing raises, bonuses and increased spending. Until now, that list did not include the one company that all Americans use in one way or another: Walmart. Now, it does.
Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, said on Thursday that it would raise its starting wages, give bonuses to some employees and vastly expand maternity- and parental-leave benefits for its army of more than one million hourly workers.
The retailer said it would use some of the money it expects to save under the recently passed tax bill to pay for the raises and enhanced benefits.
Walmart said it would increase its starting hourly wage to $11 from $9, and provide one-time cash bonuses of up $1,000 to hourly workers, depending on how long they had been with the company. The wage increase takes effect next month.
Walmart is not every American’s cup of tea, and the photos of the people who frequent the place can be downright scary, but the company does employ over two million, and any boost in pay and benefits is sure to be a morale booster for the retailer. This move is also seen as a way to position for the best employees in the lower income worker market.
Although Walmart linked the moves to the tax cuts, it faces increased competition for the most qualified workers as the labor market tightens.
The company is also trying to improve customer service in its roughly 4,700 stores around the United States, many of which have shown signs of low employee morale and untidiness.
Improved customer service would be nice as there are times that Walmart’s main competition, Amazon, simply takes to long to ship. Some days you need the immediacy of a bricks and mortar discount retailer.
And so there should be no mistaking the effect the Trump tax cuts are having on the economy. Progress is marching on whether the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is willing to admit it or not.