A few decades ago, GM was the largest employer in America — so I have been told and I am lazy and don’t want to look it up.
Today, Walmart is the largest employer in America — so I have been told and I am lazy and don’t want to look it up.
The problem that people propose is that when GM was the largest employer, people were paid well on average and the their was a large middle class. Since Walmart does not pay well on average, it is one of the causes of the decline in purchasing power of the middle class — among other issues.
My thought is this…. America is HUGE. Like super huge. Though I agree with the premise of this argument, there are additional factors at play. Yes, having a low wage employer dominate the job market does affect the quality of the middle class. That is on the macroeconomic scale. There is also the microeconomic scale.
You may or may not be aware that there are several magazines (FORBES being one of them) that publish on occasion Best/Worst Cities in America for Business/Middle Class/Whatever.
A single company is the leading employer in a nation because it has multiple locations. As the leading employer, its average wages does affect the national economy; however, that company is not necessarily the leading employer on a local level.
On a local scale, a manufacturer, bank, or other higher paying company may be the leading employer. Those companies have far fewer locations thus have far fewer employees than the nationally leading employer. This local leading employers have a greater impact on the economy.
During our fight reduce income inequality, we must identify our local leading employers and insure their feet are held to the fire too. This does not take from the social responsibilities for a company like Walmart.
Who is the leading employer in your area? What is their average wage?