- Walmart says its investment could create up to 750,000 new jobs over the next decade.
- Walmart will focus on certain products including plastics, textiles, and medical supplies.
- The retailer will also launch the American Lighthouses initiative to help overcome barriers to US manufacturing.
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Walmart plans to invest $US350 ($449) billion over the next decade in products made, grown, or assembled in the US to strengthen domestic manufacturing.
“More businesses are choosing to establish their manufacturing operations in the United States, and the result is more jobs for Americans – a lot more jobs,” Walmart’s President and CEO John Furner said on Wednesday.
The company estimates that this investment will create 750,000 new jobs over the next 10 years. It will also avoid an estimated 100 million metric tons of CO2 emissions by sourcing products closer to customers, according to Walmart.
The investment will also support small businesses, diverse suppliers, and sellers who are based in the US, Furner said.
Walmart will focus on six product categories: plastics, textiles, small electrical appliances, food processing, pharmaceutical, and medical supplies, according to Furner.
US manufacturing, which has contracted over the past two decades, swiftly bounced back after COVID-19 froze the economy early last year. Manufacturing grew at the fastest pace in three years with the industry showing improvement in February despite supply shortage and increased material costs stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing manager’s index for the manufacturing sector.
Over 85% of Walmart’s customers said that it’s important for them that the retailer offers products made or assembled in the US, according to a survey conducted by Walmart’s Global Customer Insights & Analytics team, Furner said.
The retailer is also launching American Lighthouses, a collaborative effort that will gather key stakeholders including suppliers and manufacturers to identify and overcome obstacles to US production.
Walmart’s efforts to support US manufacturing dates back to 2013 when the retailer said would invest $US250 ($321) billion in American-made products by 2023.
Separately, the giant retailer told Reuters on Tuesday that it will raise hourly wages to at least $US15 ($19) per hour for Walmart workers located at the East and West coasts. Last week, the company said that on March 13 it will start paying 425,000 frontline workers an hourly wage ranging between $US13 ($17) and $US19 ($24) an hour.