Walmart's terrible effect on the jobs economy is no secret. Walmart
drives down wages
at other retailers and pays such low wages that its workers are forced to rely on government assistance
to get by. But, its supporters claim, at least it creates jobs, and crappy jobs are better than no jobs. Except that Walmart doesn't create jobs, it kills them.
Numerous studies show this, as Kathleen Geier details:
The largest, most rigorous study conducted on the subject is this peer-reviewed article from 2008. Its lead author is economist David Neumark, who is no wild-eyed liberal. (See, for example, this anti-minimum wage op-ed he wrote for the Wall Street Journal). [...]
Using data from over 3,000 counties, their results show that when a Walmart store opens, it kills an average 150 retail jobs at the county level, with each Walmart worker replacing about 1.4 retail workers. These results are robust under a variety of models and tests.
Other strong studies found similar results. A 2008 peer-reviewed study that looked at Maryland concluded that Walmart’s presence significantly decreased retail employment, by up to 414 jobs. And a 2009 study by Loyola University found that the opening of a Chicago Walmart store was “a wash,” destroying as many jobs as it created: “There is no evidence that Wal-Mart sparked any significant net growth in economic activity or employment in the area,” according to the report.
So Walmart is causing pain across the board—lower wages, job loss, more need for government assistance for working people.
Walmart's supporters in Washington, D.C., have tried to claim that its tendency to force smaller stores out of business doesn't matter because the areas of the city that Walmart is planning to locate in—if the District doesn't pass a large retailer living wage bill—don't have much retail anyway. But that's an awfully dubious claim to begin with, and a still weaker one if Walmart's entry into the city would hurt retail employment beyond just its immediate neighborhoods.
Tell Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray to stand up to WalMart's threats and sign proposed legislation requiring large retailers to pay workers $12.50 an hour.
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