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These 5 Companies Employ the Most Low-Wage Workers


The debate over raising the minimum wage revolves, to a certain extent, around the idea that paying low-wage workers more money might cause their employers to cut hours or stop hiring altogether. And while there’s evidence to support the idea that some companies would respond to a federal minimum wage hike by hiring fewer workers, that doesn’t necessarily mean that employers of low-paid workers would do so out of strict necessity.


(Photo Credit: The All-Nite Images/Flickr)

Recently Business Insider referred to a 2012 report from The National Employment Law Project, which found that that 66 percent of low-wage workers were employed by companies with more than 100 employees.

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In fact, the report’s authors say they found that, “the majority of America’s lowest-paid workers are employed by large corporations, not small businesses, and that most of the largest low-wage employers have recovered from the recession and are in a strong financial position.”

The top employers of low-wage workers are:

1. Wal-Mart

US Workforce (as of 2012): 1,400,000

2. Yum! Brands (Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC)

US Workforce (as of 2012): 880,330

3. McDonald’s Corp.

US Workforce (as of 2012): 859,978

4. Target Corp.

US Workforce (as of 2012): 365,000

5. Sears Holdings Corporation

US Workforce (as of 2012): 264,0000

It’s difficult to do a one-to-one comparison for low wage workers at each of these companies, because titles and earnings vary so widely. But it’s safe to say that while profits have recovered at these mega-corporations, the lowest earners — who make minimum wage, or thereabouts — haven’t shared in the wealth.

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Do you think we need to raise the minimum wage, and if so, by how much? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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