Yes, Walmart Employees Earn More than Minimum Wage, but They Still Don’t Make Much

Written by Bryce Covert

In a recent interview, Walmart CEO Mike Duke told CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo, The vast majority of our associates are paid more than [the minimum wage],” estimating that “less than one percent” are paid at that level.

A spokesman clarified for the Huffington Post that in fact less than one half of one percent of its hourly workers, which it calls associates, make the state or federal minimum wage.

Yet that figure leaves out the fact that the low-wage retailer relies heavily on part-time workers. A recent survey of Walmart locations found that over half are only hiring temporary workers, not full-time positions.

Even if workers are making more than the $7.25 minimum wage floor, they may not be making much more. The company claims that full-time workers make $12.78 an hour, but an IBIS World report puts that number at $8.81. That’s 28 percent than the pay at other large retailers. Workers make so little that they use around $1 million worth of public benefits, such as food stamps and Medicaid, at one location alone. The low pay has sparked worker strikes in protest.

The company has also been a vehement opponent of living wage bills in cities where it wants to open stores. The latest showdown was in Washington, DC, where it has threatened to walk away from its plan to open three stores if the wage is raised to $12.50. It previously helped kill a living wage bill in Chicago through the same tactic.

Meanwhile, the company’s sales have recently suffered, falling 0.3 percent in same-store sales in the second quarter, with visits falling 0.5 percent. Part of the troubles stem from dissatisfied customers thanks to empty shelves and not enough workers to keep them stocked. It ranked at the bottom of the American Customer Satisfaction Index in February.

Other stores have followed a different model. Costco, which competes with Walmart’s Sams Clubs, pays workers $21.96 an hour on average. Its profits rose 19 percent in the first quarter of the year. WinCo, a small Idaho-based grocery store chain, is able to beat Walmart’s prices while paying workers more than $11 an hour and providing generous benefits.

This post was originally published in ThinkProgress

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Robert H.
Robert Hamm3 years ago

These are no longer entry level jobs folks. Like it or not we in this country are running out of work that can support us. I predicited this 40 years ago.

We cant let people stave to death in this country simply because there is no way to become employed…….or employed at a decent wage. SOMETHING will HAVE to give no matter how much you whine and cry and judge your unfortunate neighbors. Or simply put, there will be a revolution in your country. We can scream about ideology and economic business models until the nose slides off your face. it will cease to matter. The higher unemployment and or underemployment grows the closer we get to a revolution. You simply CANNOT starve a larger and larger percantage of the population while fewer and fewer people mass great wealth. Read your history books. SOME level of subsitence that is reasonable is going to have to be reached as fewer and fewer people are needed to create wealth for the very rich. Its not rocket science. if they dodnt tax us to keep people alive they must tax the rich……which the right says we cant do. So pick your poison. You either balance the system back out again or you lose it all after the revolution. Its no long a matter of if it will happen…..its a matter of when as we slip further and further into fascism. Bitch all you want about it… wont change the reality.

Lynn C.
Lynn C.3 years ago


Tamara H.
Tamara H.3 years ago

No one graduates from high school thinking, "Oh boy, now I get to work at Wal-Mart". It's more of a last resort for some and for others it's a little extra cash for the family. We've got to stop this Socialist mind-set that wants life to be fair and everyone to earn the same amount. Face it, some are more talented. Some are luckier. Some work harder. As a result they earn more. That's life.

Charles P.
Charles P.3 years ago

Please do not shop at Wal-Mart until they meet the standards set by Costco and Winco. Wal-Mart includes Sam's Club. If others can pay a decent wage while making a profit, why can't the Waltons be satisfied with their billions?

Anne Moran
Anne Moran3 years ago


Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown3 years ago

Sharon R. said "Meanwhile, forcing the minimum job wage up just creates an upward price escalation which ends up with everyone paying more for everything-- and the Walmart employees and fast food employees will again end up at the bottom, unable to pay the rent."

No Sharon, you are wrong! Walmart makes hundreds of billions in profits and if they paid ALL OF THEIR EMPLOYEES a living wage and passed 100% on to their customers it would only raise the price to the average Walmart customer about .46 cents a shopping trip (about $12. a year).,_it_would_result_in_almost_no_pain_for_the_average_customer

Stop arguing in favor of injustice!

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown3 years ago

Ryan B. said "If you don't like what you are being paid, get another job or a second job. Too many people in today's society think they are entitled to more, more, more., blah, blah, blah"

Yeah Ryan, if people want a decent wage they should work 85-90 hours of week and be paid peanuts. Who the hell are people to think that they should be paid a fair and decent wage, right?

Who are these "entitled" people thinking they should have a roof over their heads or be able to feed their children, right Ryan?

Cathleen K.
Cathleen K.3 years ago

Continued from below: While they no longer hand out applications in orientation as they once did, they still counsel all who need help on how to get it from the government. They are a tremendous drain on the local economy and the tax base wherever they set up shop.

They have always had mostly part time associates, so that figure of $8.81 for the average full time worker is simultaneously meaningless and disgusting, since those full timers have mostly been working for the company for years. It speaks volumes about how long term labor and loyalty are rewarded. More and more people are waking up to the cost of low, low prices and refusing to participate, while others are figuring out that the prices on everyday stuff are not competitive with those at your local grocer if you buy on sale, while the experience of shopping in a dirty dump with a 20 minute wait in line to pay is not worth it to save $5 on a $200 piece of electronics. Let's pray the revolt continues, and that cities take a long, hard look and say "We can't afford to let you do business according to your model within our borders. You must pay more, and you can't ask for tax breaks, or you can take your store and shove it."

Eileen B.
Eileen B.3 years ago

CEO Duke, do you really think your employees are doing okay on minimum wage? Tell you what, give up your CEO mega-paycheck and try to get by on what your workers are paid to cover rent, food, utilities, medical care, and the needs of growing children who tend to outgrow clothes and shoes almost before the items get home from the store. I DARE you to live on your workers' income for at least six months with not one red cent more and see what you can do with that. You're so far removed from their reality it's beyond your comprehension. I know you won't accept the challenge, you don't have the guts to do it. But try to remember this- it's your underpaid workers that put you where you are.

Cathleen K.
Cathleen K.3 years ago

Walmart is a transnational monopoly sucking the life blood out of producers in every country on earth. The model they used in the US to demand ever lower prices from manufacturers was a huge component of what drove manufacturers overseas, and they are now applying these tactics world wide. As the world's largest retailer, those who make or grow things feel that they cannot survive if they're not doing business with WM, which in turn has used this power to demand that vendors pay for packaging, bar coding and integration into their world wide supply chain, further driving down profits to the vendors while WM continues to demand ever lower price points. It's a vicious cycle that is crushing people all over the world, while making the six heirs of Sam Walton wealthier than the bottom 40% of Americans. WM pioneered these tactics, and other retailers, like Target, followed suit. Those who didn't, like Caldor (which paid living wages and benefits) are gone. WM demands, and gets, lower prices from vendors than does Target, which remains competitive by having better quality store brands and maintaining a nicer shopping experience. The focus is on WM because they invented this economic death spiral that impoverishes hundreds of millions globally while making a handful of people obscenely rich, and because their raping of tax payers is stunningly naked. While they no longer hand out application for Medicaid, WIC, food stamps and housing vouchers in orientation as they once did,