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More Than Half of Wal-Mart's Hourly Workers Make Less Than $25,000

Exterior of a Wal-Mart store in Dallas
Exterior of a Wal-Mart store in DallasPhotograph by Brent Humphreys/Redux

Wal-Mart Stores is the country’s biggest private employer. Its low wages have incited labor protests and congressional criticism, and have created a cottage industry of public policy research. The company has responded with facts and figures that sometimes raise as many questions as they answer.

Now Wal-Mart has provided some new and useful information: More than 475,000 of its 1 million hourly store employees earn at least $25,000 a year for full-time work. This figure comes from Bill Simon, the president and chief executive officer of Walmart U.S., who presented (PDF) it at Goldman Sachs’s Global Retailing Conference last month. The statistic, which was listed under the heading “Great job opportunities,” means as many as 525,000 full-time hourly employees earn less than $25,000 a year.