Ohio’s largest employer due to boost paychecks — and economy — this week

More than 44,000 employees of Ohio’s largest employer will get a bigger paycheck on Thursday when Walmart raises wages as previously promised.

That includes more than 10,000 employees in Southwest Ohio working at Cincinnati-, Dayton- and Springfield-area Walmart Supercenters and Sam’s Clubs, according to one of the world’s largest retailers.

The increases are part of Walmart’s two-year, $2.7 billion total investment nationwide in higher pay, better training, clearer career paths and additional educational opportunities for its workers, the company first announced in January.

Since Sameer Suri started working at the Fairfield Twp. Walmart store on Princeton Road a little more than a year ago on the overnight shift stocking inventory, he’s been promoted twice and received two raises. He finds the job stability a plus.

“First of all Walmart is a Fortune 500,” Suri, of Hamilton, said, who now manages the electronics department. “No matter where you are in your life, Walmart is everywhere.”

“We don’t have to be worried about jobs,” he said.

Pay changes mean all associates hired before the start of 2016 earn at least $10 an hour and new entry-level associates hired after Jan. 1 will continue to start at $9 an hour and will move to at least $10 an hour after successfully completing the company’s new retail skills and training program, according to the company.

Additionally, associates already earning more than $10 an hour will see their annual pay increase starting in March rather than waiting until their anniversary date, according to the company.

When these changes go into effect, impacting more than 1.1 million people nationwide, Walmart’s average full-time hourly wage will be $13.38 an hour and average part-time hourly wage will be $10.58 an hour.

Walmart is Ohio’s largest private-sector employer with about 174 stores employing nearly 47,000 people, according to the most recent report from Ohio Development Services Agency.

The average annual wage for Ohio’s private sector was $45,486 in 2014, the most recent information available from Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Based on an average 2,087 work hours a year, that’s an average hourly wage of approximately $21.79.

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