Remember Walmart’s “bold commitment” to “leading an American renewal in manufacturing” and “bringing jobs back to the U.S.”? (You know, the “bold commitment” that garnered instant skepticism from industry observers?) How’s it going so far?
Well, according to this document the company put out, Walmart’s “leadership” on the matter is resulting in about 1,700 new U.S.-based manufacturing jobs. Great, right? Well, the timeline for adding those jobs is largely unspecified, and anyway, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the job-slashing Walmart has recently undertaken: Last month, Sam’s Club announced that it will be cutting 2,300 jobs from its workforce, while a report in Bloomberg last fall noted that the total size of Walmart’s whole workforce has shrunk by nearly 120,000 jobs over the past five years.
Look, we agree with Bill Simon that America needs more good jobs. Some of them will come in the form of re-shored manufacturing jobs. But he’s plainly wrong, and falls victim to myths about working retail, when he says retail jobs like those at Walmart should be low-road, low-paid jobs. There’s no reason Walmart jobs must continue to be low-road, low-wage jobs. The company could easily pay associates better—and what’s more, if it did, it would benefit not just Walmart but the entire economy too.