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Costco Raises Wages to Remain 'Extremely Competitive'

This is the second time this year that the retailer will implement such an increase.

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Costco raised its starting wage a second time in a year earlier this week in a move designed to draw and retain employees amid the ongoing labor shortage. 

Bloomberg | Getty Images

The company told its employees last week that the minimum wage would increase from $16 to $17 starting Monday. Of about 180,000 employees at the company’s U.S. locations, 90% of them work hourly, according to CNN Business, which also shared part of the memo announcing the increase. 

"These increases are part of Costco's continuing efforts to ensure our hourly wages remain extremely competitive in the retail industry," CEO Craig Jelinek wrote.

Related: Unemployment Claims Fall to Pandemic Low Amid Tight Labor Market

The bump puts Costco employees’ starting wages significantly above those of Amazon, Target and Walmart, which are some of the wholesaler’s primary competitors in the retail market. 

In 2018, the retailer raised its minimum wage to $14. In 2019, it bumped that up to $15 before moving to $16 in February of this year. 

In September of this year, wages in the private sector grew 4.6% from the same time in the previous year.