Walmart Inc. of Bentonville on Tuesday announced that it's raising wages for workers at thousands of stores "to ensure we have attractive pay in the markets we operate."
The nation's largest employer said the raises will bring its average hourly wage to more than $17.50 for full-time and part-time employees, up from around $17 per hour.
Workers at about 3,000 stores will see the increase on their paychecks beginning March 2. Starting hourly pay varies by region and role, and ranges from $14 to $34.
"At Walmart, we know our people make the difference," John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. associates, said in a memo to employees. "That’s never been more true than today – your talent and dedication to your customers is helping them live better lives every day."
The move comes as companies compete for workers amid a tight labor market. The U.S. added a solid 223,000 jobs in December, while the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, matching a 53-year low.
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 newest pay raises brings Walmart, the country's largest retailer, closer to many of its competitors, including Target and Amazon, that have raised their minimum wage to $15 an hour.
The Associated Press contributed information to this report.