Young people are pushing to raise minimum wage
While the federal minimum wage has stayed stagnant for more than a decade, even amid economic changes like record inflation last year, numerous retailers have hiked their minimum wage beyond what’s required by law:
- Home Depot in its fourth-quarter earnings report said it would invest $1 billion annually in raising the minimum wage for its hourly employees, bringing its starting salary to $15 an hour. The change went into effect earlier this month. Competitor Lowe’s last year said it would pay $55 million in bonuses to hourly employees to offset inflation.
- Walmart earlier this year said it would raise its average hourly wage to $14 per hour by March. The increase will bring the average associate pay to $17.50, CEO John Furner said in a note to employees.
- Target in 2022 raised wages for hourly employees, Retail Leader reported. The retailer enacted a starting range, paying employees between $15 and $24 an hour. It came after it made the increase to $15 in 2017.
- Kroger, the largest supermarket operator in the U.S., in 2021 said it would invest $350 million to bring its average hourly pay to $16 an hour.
- CVS Health last year raised the minimum hourly wage for employees to $15 an hour. The pharmacy chain at the time said 65% of employees were already earning more than that wage.
- Ikea raised its minimum wage to $16 an hour in 2021, with some roles in certain locations starting at $17 or $18 an hour. The increase brought the average hourly wage for the furniture retailer to $20.
States have also raised their minimum wages. As Elizabeth Lafontaine, chief analyst for Retail Leader Pro, noted in January’s “Inside Retail: State of the Industry Quarterly Report,” Nevada voted to increase the minimum wage to $12 beginning in 2024, while 26 states will increase their wages this year.
“From an economic sentiment perspective, this increase in wages and earnings for consumers has a positive impact on their ability and desire to spend on both essential and non-essential retail categories and bolsters the discretionary income of many,” she said.