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How Much Do Target, Walmart and Other Big Retailers Pay Entry-Level Workers?

Hobby Lobby has raised its minimum wage to $18.50.

If you’re looking for a job, Hobby Lobby would really like to talk with you, and they’ll make it worth your while.

The arts and crafts chain store will raise its “minimum full-time hourly wage" to $18.50 on Jan. 1, according to USA Today. That’s an increase of $1.50 from its last raise in October 2020.

In October, the store announced it was hiring 11,000 season store employees to help with the Holiday rush, and raised its minimum wage to $13.

Walmart Minimum Lags Its Rivals

The move comes as a wave of other big-box retailers, as well as Amazon (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report, have raised their minimum wages of late. 

In February, Walmart told CNN that hourly workers stocking shelves and fulfilling customers' home delivery and curbside pickup orders in stores would receive a starting rate of $13 to $19 an hour starting in mid-March, based on the store's location and market. In 2020, the Bentonville, Ark., company raised wages for 165,000 store workers in management roles to a starting rate of $18 an hour, CNN reported.

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In September, Walmart WMT raised its minimum starting wage to $12 an hour from $11. In some stores, The New York Times reported, starting wages will reach $17 an hour. And the company said its average wage had reached $16.25 an hour.

Last year, Target  (TGT) - Get Target Corporation Report increased its minimum wage to $15 an hour, and offered frontline workers a $200 bonus, while earlier this year Costco   (COST) - Get Costco Wholesale Corporation Report raised its minimum pay to $16. Additionally, Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report boosted its average minimum wage to $18 an hour in September, and some locations are offering up to $22.50 an hour in wages, and sign-on bonuses of up to $3,000.

What Is the Federal Minimum Wage?

There are a few likely reasons for the pay bump. The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.50 for the past 12 years, though some states have a much higher hourly minimum, such as Washington ($13.50) and Oregon ($12). 

While an attempt to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour was ultimately taken out of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, the call for employers to raise their wages has been a hobbyhorse of progressive politicians such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), thus keeping national attention on the issue. 

Labor Shortages Drive Increases

Unemployed Numbers Chart_121621

Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Currently, companies are struggling to fill open positions due to the ongoing labor shortage. There are currently 0.7 unemployed people for every open position, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics. That's down from five available workers for every open position in April 2020 during the height of the pandemic.