Walmart Giving U.S. Workers a Pay Raise

    NEW YORK — Walmart will give pay raises to its U.S. workers next month, part of a program Walmart offiials say is designed to strengthen jobs and invest in its people.

    Under the plan, Walmart will increase starting pay for its U.S. to between $14 and $19 an hour.

    In a company-wide memo Tuesday, Walmart CEO John Furner informed employees the pay raises would it their March 2 paychecks and will come through a combination of targeted and regular annual pay increases.

    Workers at 3,000 stores will get raises, increasing average pay to $17.50 an hour from $17. Starting wages currently range between $12 and $18 an hour, depending on location.

    The competition for low-wage retail workers remains fierce even as companies scale back on hiring, amid a lingering labor shortage, accoring to a report by The Associated Press. Walmart and its competitors have raised wages several times in recent years and added benefits to retain workers, including covering in vitro fertilization, fertility testing and financial help with surrogacy and adoption, the AP reported.

    The newest pay raises brings Walmart, the country’s largest retailer and biggest private employer, closer to many of its competitors, including Target and Amazon, that have raised their minimum wage to $15 an hour.