CBS Money Watch – January 19, 2017
By Aimee Picchi
With President-elect Donald Trump proclaiming that he’ll be the “greatest jobs president” for America, it may be no coincidence that some big retailers are announcing plans to ramp up hiring.
Walmart (WMT) and Amazon (AMZN) this month announced they’d hire tens of thousands of new employees, earning a favorable tweet from Mr. Trump, who praised Walmart, along with automaker General Motors (GM), for “starting the big jobs push back into the U.S.!” But labor activists are questioning the quality of those jobs and asking whether they’ll bolster an already weakened middle-class, which in recent years has lost better jobs to the type of lower-paying positions that retailers are adding. …
Such low-wage jobs cost state and federal governments $153 billion in annual costs, largely due to government aid programs that keep them from dire poverty, the University of California Berkeley Labor Center found in a 2015 report.
“It’s not like they are suddenly hiring a lot more higher wage people,” said Olivia LaVecchia, a researcher at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a non-profit focused on local economies, about Amazon’s hiring binge. “It underlines just how fast they are growing, and that’s bad news for U.S. workers.”