Walmart’s ( WMT ) updated pay structure sent another signal to Wall Street that the job market is changing.
In mid-July, Walmart changed the way it pays entry-level workers. Stockers and personal shoppers for online orders joining Walmart’s workforce now earn the same starting wages as cashiers — $1 an hour less than the starting wages for those roles three months ago. Salary for existing employees has not changed.
The world’s largest retailer is updating its payment structure to make it “more consistent” and to “create new opportunities for associates to gain new skills from the in-store experience,” Walmart spokeswoman Anne Hatfield told Yahoo Finance. Hatfield added that about 50,000 workers received a pay raise following the change.
“This news reflects a broader easing of labor market tightness,” Jefferies analyst Corey Tallov wrote in a note.
To some on Wall Street, the move suggests Walmart now has a leg up on workers, a different tone than earlier this year when it raised the average hourly wage to $17.50 as companies struggled to attract enough workers.
The tight labor market led other major retailers such as Home Depot ( HD ) to announce billion-dollar investments in payrolls earlier this year. But that may not be the norm going forward, as Walmart is seen as a bellwether for the economy.
As America’s largest private employer, delivering About 1.6 million jobs In the US, Walmart often sets precedents for other retailers.
Forrester Research retail analyst Suchrita Kodali told Yahoo!
There are other signs of slowing wage growth. As Yahoo Finance’s Miles Udland reported on Friday, wage increases for job seekers also suggest an easing of the labor market.
The three-month average annual wage growth for job seekers fell to 5.6% in August. This is down from 8.5% in July 2022, as Data from the Atlanta Fed.
“We expect this labor market rebalancing to continue,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said last month.
Meanwhile, Walmart stock continues to get a boost from investors, up nearly 20% from a year ago as shoppers turn to the retail giant for value.
In the retail giant’s second-quarter earnings call, the Arkansas-based chain posted same-store sales rose 6.30 percent, beating expectations of 4.04 percent.
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