Warehouse workers at Walmart are choosing between getting weekly bonuses and taking vacations in August in a move aimed at helping the big box retailer prepare for the holiday shopping season at a time when the labor market is thin and the supply chain is compromised, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Some Walmart warehouse workers have been offered $200 weekly bonuses, while others across the company’s 190 U.S. warehouses can bring in $500 a week, depending on their locations and job types.
The retailer’s distribution warehouses “continue to see high volume as we are preparing for peak season,” a Walmart spokesman told WSJ. Walmart is the largest private employer in the U.S. with 1.6 million workers, most of whom earn hourly wages while in the company’s stores or warehouses.
In April, Amazon announced it was raising many workers’ hourly wages and offering $1,000 hiring bonuses in many of its locations. Walmart plans to give about 425,000 workers raises earlier this year and kept the starting hourly $11 wage in some markets.
Related news: CVS Lifts Employees’ Hourly Pay To Combat Labor Shortage
CVS Health recently announced it is raising its hourly minimum wage and removing education requirements for recruitment of employees, a move that executives hope allows the company to bolster its ranks and continue growth.
Incremental increases to hourly rates will start this month, the company said, with all employees making at least $15 per hour by July 2022. CVS said approximately 65 percent of hourly employees already make more than $15 an hour; the pharmacy chain has raised its minimum hourly wage by more than 60 percent over the last four years.
Across the U.S., total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 943,000 in July, and the unemployment rate declined by 0.5 percentage point to 5.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday (Aug. 6). Leisure and hospitality, local government education, and professional and business services saw the biggest employment gains over the past month. Since April 2020, employment in transportation and warehousing has grown by 534,000.
Overall, there are 8.7 million people unemployed across the U.S., down about 782,000 from the previous month, but still well above the pre-pandemic level of 5.7 million people in February 2020, when unemployment was at 3.5 percent.