Why we know Walmart isn’t paying $12.40/hour

Here’s how we know that Walmart’s claim to be paying an “average” wage of $12.40/hour is hogwash: The retail giant is not lobbying aggressively in support of a minimum-wage increase.

If you’re a retailer with millions of employees all making several dollars more than the minimum wage, then seeing that wage raised from $7.25/hour to, say, $9.50/hour doesn’t cost you anything when it comes to your own payroll. But it would mean a great deal to the people your company can’t live without: your customers. About 74 million Americans are paid minimum wage — with nearly half of those being adult women. If those 74 million Americans were to get a raise of  another $2.25/hour, they would spend that money. And they wouldn’t spend it at Macy’s. They would spend it at Walmart. A minimum-wage increase would be a huge revenue windfall, a sales bonanza for Walmart.

Granted, it gets more complicated when you factor in Walmart’s supply chain. Many of the goods they sell are cheaper because they’re made by companies paying the lowest legal wages possible, so a minimum-wage increase wouldn’t be entirely cost-free for the chain. (Calculating stuff like this is another reason businesses need to hire economists, not just accountants.)

But if Walmart were honestly paying an average wage of $12.40/hour, then they ought to support a minimum-wage increase. They do not support such an increase, and so I have to conclude they are not honest when they claim to be paying that.

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  • FearlessSon

    Walmart can get away with paying so little because the government safety net programs like SNAP can keep their workers from starving at the wages they are paid.

    And yet, the people who complain of the high cost of safety net programs always blame the people collecting them, and never the big companies who pay their workers so little that these workers have no choice but to depend on them.

    We do have something of an entitlement problem and perpetually dependent society, but the blame lies not with its victims but its bottom-line driven abusers…

  • smrnda

    Perfect diagnosis. Perhaps all the whining and griping about ‘entitlement’ from the affluent is either just projection, or the trick of accusing everyone else of your own crimes to divert suspicion.

    It would be nice if the government could draw up some figures on workers collecting government aid, and could send a bill for that amount to their employers. I try to avoid shopping at Wal-Mart, but indirectly, as a taxpayer, they’re costing me money by increasing the need for public aid, so I am unwillingly subsidizing their poorly paying jobs.

  • Elizabeth Coleman

    >>It would be nice if the government could draw up some figures on workers collecting government aid, and could send a bill for that amount to their employers.

    That’s what they’re trying to do in California.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2013/06/03/california-to-wal-mart-enough-no-more-taxpayer-subsidized-profits-for-you/

  • Cathy W

    I think Maryland tried that a couple years ago – they defined the category of employers to be charged the fee pretty broadly, but in reality only Walmart fell into it. Walmart lobbied hard enough to make sure the bill didn’t get anywhere near passing.

  • Cathy W

    Aha, I was wrong on the details – from Wikipedia:
    On January 12, 2006, the Maryland legislature enacted a law requiring that all corporations with more than 10,000 employees in the state spend at least eight percent of their payroll on employee benefits, or pay into a state fund for the uninsured. Walmart, with about 17,000 employees in Maryland, was the only known company to not meet this requirement before the bill passed. On July 7, 2006, the Maryland law was overturned in federal court by a U.S. District judge.
    The benefits law did seem to be based on the same basic premise as what smrnda was talking about, though – billing the employer for an outsized impact on public health care funding.

  • Lori

    If you’re already paying above the minimum wage an increase in the minimum wage not only doesn’t cost you anything and gives your costumers more money, it hurts the profitability of any of your competitors who are not already paying more than the proposed increase.

    So yeah, if Walmart’s pay was actually what they want people to believe when they say that they pay an average of $12.40/hour they’d be all for raising the minimum wage.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I’ve seen proposals that everyone should receive a commensurate pay raise with the minimum wage increase, which could cost those corporations money.

    Still not a good enough excuse for not supporting a minimum wage increase, but it could conceivably cost them monet.

  • Lori

    A law requiring all wages to go up by the same percentage as the increase in the minimum wage would never pass. If it ever even became a serious proposal Walmart’s lobbyists could easily horse trade it away.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    It might NEVER pass, but it NEEDS to pass, so what Congress is incapable of doing isn’t really my metric.

  • Lori

    I was talking strictly about the fact that it’s never going to cost Walmart any money and therefore is not actually a reason for them to oppose an increase in the minimum wage.

    Walmart does oppose an increase in the minimum wage and the only reason for that is that they pay most of their employees less than the proposed new rate.

  • lljktechnogeek

    Alternate interpretation: they are telling the truth that the average wage is $12.40. The catch is that they’re using the mean and not the median, thus allowing the wages of the executives to skew the result upward by a few dollars.

  • Lori

    I have no doubt that’s exactly what they mean by “average”, but that doesn’t change Fred’s point. They’re pulling a classic move straight out of How To Lie With Statistics and they’re doing it on purpose to create an impression that it’s true.

  • lljktechnogeek

    True enough; it’s certainly an important thing to keep in mind whenever you see someone talking about the average of anything.

  • Lori

    I was assigned How To Lie With Statistics in one of my classes my first semester of college. It was the most useful thing I was given that whole semester.

  • lljktechnogeek

    I can certainly think of worse additions to the Big List of Must-Read Books.

  • FearlessSon

    As Mark Twain popularized, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

  • Space Marine Becka

    I thought that was Disraeli.

  • FearlessSon

    Sort of. He was quoted by Twain, but that was not verified. At least according to Wikipedia. Hence why I said “popularized”.

  • Steve Morrison

    It doesn’t seem to have originated with either of them.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It’s really fun when I see a graph whose axes are stretched or aren’t even labelled which purports to show some kind of alarming trend.

  • FearlessSon
  • Space Marine Becka

    I wonder what the mode is. I’m not saying this to be flippant the hourly wage that turns up most often would be even more interesting than than the median.

  • CharityB

    I bet it’s $7.25.

  • http://theoprudence.com/ Matt

    Not only that, but it would also stand to make things more difficult on their competition, forcing the competition into the same wage bracket.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I have some insight here.

    The roommate, whose worked at Wal-Mart for almost 3 years, and has “some seniority” (his manager’s words) in the cell phone center, makes 8.65 an hour.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That’s what always makes me scratch my head. How can companies have managers who only make a dollar or two an hour more than the people they nominally have authority over?

    There is the Russian word uravnilovka, but even the Soviets never quite got to levelling wages out THAT much.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    There is the Russian word uravnilovka, but even the Soviets never quite got to levelling wages out THAT much.

    -I’m pretty sure they did.

  • David S.

    From what I’ve read, the Soviets were pretty good about rewarding their managers. The wages didn’t tell the whole story; higher positions would let you buy better products at cheaper prices then the proles could. Or get access to products that weren’t available to the proles; I read about a new book being published, and a line outside the bookstore for it, a line that a secretary got to skip and buy a copy for everyone in her office at the local bureaucracy.

  • J_Enigma32

    “We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us” – Soviet adage.

    We defined ourselves as “not-Soviet” for nearly 50 years. From 1946 to 1991. Isn’t it terribly ironic then, that as of 2013, it should be a Soviet adage the best describes the state of the “not-Soviet” United States of America?

  • P J Evans

    I heard that as ‘As long as they pretend to pay us, we will pretend to work’.

  • J_Enigma32

    That’s probably closer to what I intended.

    I was also referencing this study; the two seem to go together.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/70-u-s-workers-hate-job-poll-article-1.1381297

  • reynard61

    According to this chart, we *are* working and they’re only pretending to pay us.

  • Wednesday

    I don’t understand the vertical axis on that chart at all, nor how productivity is measured. Do you have a link to the original MJ article?

  • BaseDeltaZero

    The vertical axis is the percentage increase of that value in 1979 (so around 2008, the top 1%’s income was 240% more than it was in 1979.

    ‘Productivity’ is typically measured by tasks completed per unit time divided by wages/salaries (per the same unit time). So, part of the reason productivity is increasing at all is that wages are going down relative to the prices of the product, whatever that might be.

  • reynard61
  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I kind of don’t want to contribute. The only two jobs I’ve ever held paid $100 a month and $500 a month. I’m pretty sure both are miserably below minimum wage — and both companies eventually relocated those positions to people they could pay even less. Both have been contributing factors in why I have such a hard time doing much of anything today. Even if minimum wage goes up, I’ll never trust corporations not to treat their employees like this.

  • FearlessSon

    I have noticed that there is an inverse relationship between pay and job security, and how easy the company thinks you are to replace.

    If you are in a lower down position, you are hardly considered an employee, and almost not considered human. You are simply an asset to be used and, they do not care if they have to let you go because ten other people are lined up behind you to take your place.

    And they like it that way. Makes things so much more predictable, so much easier to control.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I have noticed that there is an inverse relationship between pay and job
    security, and how easy the company thinks you are to replace.

    -It’s called supply&demand.

  • Lori

    Perceived supply & demand, but not actual supply & demand.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Can you elaborate? What’s not actual about the perceived supply and demand?

  • Lori

    The skills of the CEOs making hundreds of times what their workers make aren’t actually good or rare enough to justify the money they’re paid. Good “low skill” workers are harder to come by than their tiny paychecks would indicate.

    The current wage situation in the US isn’t due to real supply & demand. It’s due to the self-serving illusion created by people raking in the big bucks.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Good “low skill” workers are harder to come by than their tiny paychecks would indicate.

    Especially because businesses have shifted toward an employee model wherein as few employees as possible do as much work as possible, thus the lowest paid employees do as much work as several people would years ago.

    When I was first starting out, I applied to be a stocking worker at the grocery store. Nowadays, there’s only “floor workers” who, depending on the circumstances, work the counters, clean the floors, stock the shelves, unload orders, price items, answer phones, evaluate refunds and redeem tickets…

    What’s gone from a very small skill set is now a rather large skill set, and it’s the lowest paid position.

  • Lori

    I’m not a fan of most reality TV, but one thing that I’ll give to the show “Undercover Boss” is that it clearly demonstrated that those “low skill” jobs aren’t necessarily easy to do. More than one of those CEOs has found himself unable to manage and there was at least one guy whose manager said straight up that he would have been fired soon.

    I’ve been doing low paid, “low skill” blue collar work for the last year. I know plenty of people who are smarter than I am, but I do OK. I have a BA, most of 2nd BA, and 3/4 of a Master’s and that hasn’t meant that those blue collar jobs have been a snap. The last one frankly I was never going to get the hang of. Doing it well required a kind of spacial relations skill that I don’t have. And anyone who thinks office politics only happen, or only matter, in offices has never worked a factory floor.

    The ability to run a company well is a rarer skill set than a good low-level employee, and I have no problem with paying CEOs more. They just aren’t worth nearly as much more as we currently pay them and the lower skilled workers don’t deserve to be treated as disposable.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I’m not a fan of most reality TV, but one thing that I’ll give to the
    show “Undercover Boss” is that it clearly demonstrated that those “low
    skill” jobs aren’t necessarily reason to do.

    -I have trouble understanding the emboldened part of this sentence.

  • Lori

    It was a typo, which I have now fixed. (There tends to be a disconnect between my brain and my fingers when I’m tired, such that I will sometimes type an entirely different word than I was thinking and not notice it until after I’ve hit post.)

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I have that same problem sometimes-when I’m not looking at the screen, I sometimes type a homophone instead of an intended word.

  • Lori

    I do that too, but if I’m really tired I sometimes just type random words. When I was in grad school there was a point where I actually wondered if I had had a small stroke & mistaken it for a migraine because 3 letter words were just random. The odds were pretty good that if I was thinking a 3 letter word I’d type some totally different 3 letter word. And of course spellcheck can’t catch that because the word was spelled correctly. Fortunately that cleared up once I got back to getting consistent sleep, but it was weird while it was happening.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Oh, that’s a familiar feeling. My big one now is that I type a word that starts with the first few syllables or letters by mistake. If you’ve ever heard the stand-up comedy skit about ordering a chicken situation? That’s me in a nutshell in any text medium. The word is spelled correctly, and some readers will glaze right over it and read the correct word by context alone, but it’s so not what I intended.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    One of my instructors in college had apparently done a research project on the workers who lost their jobs when factories started closing in Michigan, following up on how many of them had entered the fast food industry — and had immediately quit because there was no way they could keep up with the pace, the stress, the organization and the employee treatment. Apparently the number was “easily nine out of ten, and closer to ten.”

    Yet fast food is still regarded as grunt work, the kind of thing you send someone for the first job purely so they have work experience.

  • Dan Hetrick

    Gods, what Walmart is saying is such bullshit. Not only do they pay crap for wages, they’ve been driving wages down.

    I grew up in Michigan. I worked at Meijer’s, a local store kind of like Walmart (groceries and clothes and other stuff), before Walmart came to the state. When I was working there, in 1993-1994, cashiers made $15/hr ($24.93/hr in 2013 dollars). I was a midnight bagger, I made $8/hr ($13.01/hr in 2013 dollars). Minimum wage, at the time, was $4.25/hr ($6.91/hr in 2013 dollars). During a lot of our training at Meijer’s, we were warned about how Walmart was going to crush our marketshare, that our entire company was going to be in danger as soon as Walmart came to the state.

    The last time I was in Michigan, I hung out with a friend of mine who worked at Meijer’s, as a cashier. I asked her what Meijer’s was paying, and she told me that pretty much everyone makes minimum wage, $7.25/hr. Walmart’s been in Michigan since 1995.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    *Snirk* When I left Michigan and moved to Washington, I tripped very badly over discovering that there’s a chain here with the same pronunciation, but a different spelling: Meyer, or its full name, Fred Meyer. Someone would say “Let’s go to Meyer’s!” and I’d be picturing one of the big Meijer stores and get a little grocery store instead.

    Given the time frame and the hours we used to visit, it’s quite possible you’ve bagged my groceries (and how). That feels oddly bizarre. I went to the Greenville and Mount Pleasant stores, if either rings a bell.

  • Dan Hetrick

    Wow, I was working in the Northville store, southeast Michigan, but I’ve been to both the Greenville (damn! that’s up in the boonies) and Mt. Pleasant stores. As far as I remember, the Greenville store was the very first Meijer’s, also started by a guy named Fred Meijer. What a weird coincidence :-)

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    That’s me, middle of nowhere half my life. Well, closer to two thirds of it. :D

  • FearlessSon

    I have never heard anyone describe it as “Meyer’s”, I always heard people use the full name “Fred Meyer”. Usually without the possessive on the end though.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    It only happened a few times, just after I moved here. You know, as if specifically to confuse me. :p

  • Cathy W

    I’ve heard that’s a quirk of Michigan speech – we shop at Meijer’s (in fairness, the store used to be Meijer’s Thrifty Acres), Farmer Jack’s (when it existed) and Kroger’s, and Uncle Bob works at the Ford’s plant.

  • Steve Morrison

    My mother did that! She was from Kentucky, though (but she did have cousins in Michigan; I wonder if that’s where she got the locution).

  • Cathy W

    Or it might have traveled the other way – a lot of Appalachian folks came up to Michigan to work in the auto plants when that became a better gig than coal mining.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Yep. Meijer’s, Kroger’s, even Kmart’s. Though I never heard “Target’s”, but then, pretty much everyone I knew called it “Tar-jhey” to joke about how it was an “upscale” big box store.

  • Elizabeth Coleman

    My Co-worker would call it “Fred’s”, and that always confused me.

  • quinnthebrain

    In my family (in Oregon) we’d usually call is Freddie’s.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    In 1999, Meijer started opening stores here in KY. They were union, and a few years ago, the cashier’s negotiated a pay raise to the union max.

    So things have gotten a bit better for Meijer employees.

  • Cathy W

    I was a cashier at Meijer in 1998-1999. I know I didn’t make close to $15/hour – I want to say about $9-$10 at the time, and the cashiers were the highest paid employees in the store, pretty much.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    And then there’s this.

    As if being paid minimum wage wasn’t bad enough.

  • flat

    those bastards.

  • The_L1985

    If you have to pay to do anything with your minimum-wage check, then you are earning a net wage that is way less than minimum wage.

    Those cards and fees ought to be illegal–which is, of course, why they’re not.

  • Lori

    I don’t know if the pay cards were left out of the anti-fees legislation on purpose, or by accident. I tend to think it was an accident helped along by industry lobbyists. How many of the people writing legislation have ever been paid on a pay card or had someone close to them who was? My guess is none. If you haven’t experienced it you’re not necessarily going to know that there’s a problem with it. It can easily be framed as a good thing (lower costs, convenient for people who don’t have bank accounts, cheaper than check cashing services) and the banks are certainly not going to admit in advance that they’re salivating over the loophole.

    My hope is that now that the problem is getting some attention the loophole will be closed. Of course, I have no idea how long that will take since these days Congress pretty literally can’t do anything but pass forced-birth legislation.

  • Asha

    Holy shit. That’s disgusting.

  • themunck

    I…can’t even see -why- J.P. Morgan and the rest would do that. Why pay in cards rather than cash? The fee’s aren’t being paid to the corporations (which is what they’d probably want), but to banks. Why does the corporations not care that their employers, who are also their own customers, have to funnel that money into the banks, rather than their own pockets? I simply do not see the logic here. Does the banks pay the corporations to pay in pre-paid cards?

  • Lori

    The companies do it because the banks have marketed the cards to them very aggressively and because it lowers their costs. The banks push the cards because they were left out of the legislation placing limits on account and credit card fees. That means that they can still gouge pay card users with highly profitable fees that they’re no longer allowed to charge other customers. Basically, it’s the haves getting more at the expense of the have-nots.

  • themunck

    Lowers their costs. So what we in effect have is the companies selling the banks the right to steal the employees’ money. Got it.
    …Is a revolution soon too much to hope for?

  • Lori

    Yes, that’s a good way to describe it. And I’m at the point where if the peasants rise up and kill the overlords in their beds I’m not going to have a real problem with it. I have no idea how much worse things need to get before it comes to that. I suspect quite a lot.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    The peasant population in the U.S. is too low for the peasants to do anything. Also, the U.S. doesn’t have the youth bulge characteristic of societies undergoing a revolution. You are right that things must get much worse before any sort of real change can take place in Congress.

  • Lori

    The peasant population in the US is getting bigger all the time. The middle class that has kept us stable for decades is shrinking and what’s left is insecure. We don’t have a large youth population, but we do have a high youth unemployment rate that’s not likely to get better any time soon.

    I still think things will have to get a lot worse before there’s any real uprising here, but I think other factors are more critical for that calculation.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    You’re right on your last sentence. I consider interest rates and the amount and distribution of debt among the population to be one of those “more critical” factors.

  • Lori

    I think that’s probably true, especially the debt issue. Once enough people come to the conclusion that their situation is truly hopeless things will go bad very quickly.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Why pay in cards rather than cash? …Does the banks pay the corporations to pay in pre-paid cards?

    Yes. There’s an indirect “payment” in that the banks charge the corporations less for the cards than they would for payroll checks, but sometimes there’s also a direct payment to the company for each new “cardholder” they sign up.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    The upside of paying in cards, especially card where there is a penalty for converting the cards into cash, is that the money that has been “paid” to the employees remains under the control of the bank for perhaps as long as a month after they’ve spent it. All the time the money is on that card in the employee’s pocket, the bank still controls sthat money. They can loan it out (or just invest it) and they get to keep the interest. And even when they do spend it at a store, depending on how the transaction is done, the bank doesn’t actually have to pay the vendor for a certain amount of time (It’s quite a long time if it’s a credit transaction. Debit transactions are slightly different, but even then, there’s a lot of wiggle room because of the way liquidity works). If the vendor’s account is with the same bank (And this is nearly always the case, otherwise they’d find a way to add an extra fee), then At no point ever does the bank not get the benefit of having that money.

  • themunck

    I know. My point was that I couldn’t see what was in it for the companies that pay in cards. The interest of the banks are fairly clear to see in this, if only because of all the fees.

  • Lori

    I was just reading that the average company with 500 employees saves about $21,000/year by switching to the cards. And now I’m even more pissed off. For a company that size $21k is chicken feed. If it was $210k/year it would still be wrong, but it would at least be understandable. They’re totally screwing their workers for what is for the company a trivial amount of money. That is so shitty.

  • Cathy W

    Just doing the math: that is $42/employee. Less than a dollar per week per employee. Appalling.

  • David S.

    I see at least one statement in that article that’s close to being a lie. Nina Das, a Citigroup spokeswoman, said that “someone cashing a payroll check for $500 would end up paying $15 at a 3 percent check-cashing fee.” That may be literally true, but Walmart will cash them for $3 up to $500, and for $6 up to $1000. (They would do checks of their employee for free.) Poking around, the local price at checking cashing / payday loans places is 1.99% (or 1.9% + a dollar). It’s possible that people end up paying $15–poverty often doesn’t come with the time and transportation to shop around–but I think most people are doing better. (Not that it doesn’t suck having to pay to cash a paycheck.)

  • http://checkpoint-telstar.blogspot.com/ Tim Lehnerer

    I forget who told me this, but it’s a great way to deflate Walmart’s claims (or any other time someone says the “average” pay rate is actually pretty good at an exploitative company): Bill Gates walks into a homeless shelter. The average worth of everyone in there is now 300 million dollars.

  • Carstonio

    “A minimum-wage increase would be a huge revenue windfall, a sales bonanza for Walmart.” Everyone in an economy benefiting when money moves freely? Gee, imagine that. I thought it was better for the economy when most of the money was hoarded by a tiny elite buying luxury goods from one another.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Agreed, Fred. If the majority of Wal-Mart’s workers did earn over $12.40 an hour, there would be every reason for Wal-Mart to aggressively advocate raising the minimum wage, especially to decrease the profitability of its competitors. In fact, the CEO of Wal-Mart did support raising the minimum wage in 2005 (though whether this was the view of all those running the company isn’t clear).
    http://money.cnn.com/2005/10/25/news/fortune500/walmart_wage/

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    Wow. Nice job digging up an article from 2005 when the minimum wage was $5.15/hour. Got anything more recent?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    My sarcasm-meter is displaying a 1.7 out of 10-too little to call “sarcasm” for certain, too much to give a serious answer (which is, currently, “no”). Thus, I’m not sure how to respond to your comment.

  • http://tobascodagama.com Tobasco da Gama

    I’m sure they do have an average wage of $12.40/hr… Once you convert all the executive salaries to hourly equivalents and toss those into the pot.

  • LL

    I’m no expert, but they probably are paying the average they claim. Average their highest paid employees with the lowest paid, it probably does come out to what they say. That’s why averages are not the greatest way to measure stuff like income. Plus, large numbers skew the average upwards more than small number skew it down, apparently. But they’re easy to calculate and stupid people don’t usually look further to see what the number is obscuring, which is usually quite a lot.

    If low-wage employees made more at Walmart, the executives couldn’t make as much. Duh. How hard is that to figure out? Plus, shareholder value and all that. Why do you hate American free enterprise, Fred?

  • Ethics Gradient

    Just to correct something, Fred – that link says 74 million Americans are paid at an hourly rate. 3.8 million are paid at or below minimum wage (1.7m at exactly minimum wage and 2.2m below).

  • floodslayer

    If I’m reading the BLS article (http://www.bls.gov/cps/minwage2011.htm) correctly, it doesn’t say that 74 million Americans earn minimum wage, it says 74 million Americas are payed some sort of hourly wage. Rather, 3.8 million make at or below the federal minimum wage. A rather important distinction.

    The correct isn’t meant to disparage the point of the article, I still agree with you, but it’s important to get the facts right.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    The statistic is technically that full-time employees make, on average, $12.40 per hour. Since Walmart all but stopped hiring full-time employees sometime around 2009, that means that the people who are making, on average, $12.40 per hour have been working at Walmart for, on average*, at least four years.

    *There are some outliers who were able to take full-time positions after less than four years. I know a couple of lower-level managers who started after 2009 and are now working full-time.

  • Fanraeth

    I’ve worked at Walmart as a cashier for six years now so that I could afford to go to school. I make a few dimes under ten dollars an hour. I would need to work there another seven years to reach their claimed average pay.

  • stationary

    According to the BLS link, about 74 million Americans are paid hourly, but 3.8 million are paid at or below minimum wage. It doesn’t really affect the argument of this post much, but we still expect better from you, Fred.

  • Chowder

    I reckon it’s the word “average” there that’s the trick; I’d be willing to bet they’re including all the top executives in their math. Supposedly Wal-Mart’s CEO makes something like $35 million a year, which works out to over $16000 an hour. So if you stretch the definition of “employee” to include “the people at the top signing the checks” you can throw in a couple of really high numbers that fuck up the curve. So they’re paying their employees $12.40/hour on AVERAGE, but most of that average floats to the top, like pond scum.