Walmart raises minimum wage by almost 17%

Walmart is the largest private employer in the world, with about 2.30 million employees. The world’s largest retailer, with over 11,000 stores in 27 countries, announced Tuesday, it will raise the hourly minimum wage for store workers in the US.

“Walmart has repeatedly invested in higher wages for our associates and will continue to do so. Bottom line: We’re going to keep raising pay. As a company, our goal is to offer competitive pay by role and by market, with the kind of opportunity and room for career growth that isn’t found anywhere else,” states the company’s website.

Starting March, the minimum hourly wage will rise with almost 17%, from 12$ to 14$, and 18$ to 19$, which makes it an average wage of 17,50$. “Starting next month, we’ll begin investing in higher wages for associates. This includes a mixture of associates’ regular annual increases and targeted investments in starting rates for thousands of stores, to ensure we have attractive pay in the markets we operate. We expect these raises will bring our U.S. average hourly wage to more than $17.50. They’ll be reflected in March 2 paychecks,” John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S.,wrote in a note to employees.

Walmart spokeswoman Anne Hatfield told CNBC in a statement that about 340,000 store employees will get a rise. The move comes after the company’s competitors Amazon and Target already hiked their minimum wage to 15$. Currently, the minimum hourly wage in the United States is $7.25 per hour, since 2009. However, many states and municipalities have set their own minimum wage rates that are higher than the federal rate, the highest is in Washington State, 16$.