Number of the Day Shows Profits Don’t Reach Workers

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$1.11 on a purple background with blue lines

That’s how much the typical hourly wages of workers at America’s top retail companies have increased since the pandemic began, even as their employers’ profits soared by an average of 39%, according to a report by the Brookings Institution. 

The rise in hourly pay at 13 top retailers, including CVS, Costco, and the Kroger grocery store chain, represented a 10% increase to wages that the study's authors said are often too low to meet a family’s basic needs. Workers at two of the most successful companies, Amazon and Walmart, only received an extra $0.95 an hour and $0.63 an hour respectively, despite Amazon’s profits rising by 53% and Walmart’s by 45%. 

Retailers are in the midst of what they expect to be a record-setting holiday shopping season even as COVID-19 cases surge across the country. But the cashiers, salespeople, and stock clerks on the front lines facing the dangers of the pandemic have gone an average of 133 days without receiving any hazard pay, the report said. 

“At most of the biggest retail companies in America, the gap between the struggles and sacrifices of low-wage frontline workers and the wealth they create for their employers and shareholders is wider than ever,” the report said.

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