Walmart’s announcement of what it refers to as “the investments,” made during the all-staff videoconference in 2015, became something of a Rorschach test. To macroeconomists, it suggested that a falling unemployment rate was finally creating the response that theory suggests it should: employers raising wages to attract the workers they need.
To labor activists, it was a sign that political campaigns to raise the minimum wage were paying off. To Wall Street analysts, it was the company owning up to the weaknesses long apparent in customer surveys and sales numbers.
And in the company’s own framing, it was about doing the right thing. “It’s clear to me that one of the highest priorities today must be an investment in you, our associates,” Mr. McMillon said in the video.
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