Walmart, America’s largest private employer, plans to hire hundreds more truck drivers in 2019 while boosting the pay of its current drivers.
Walmart added 1,400 truck drivers to its 2.3 million-strong workforce in 2018. They joined the hiring boom that added over 2.6 million jobs to the economy that year.
Now starting in February, the company will also increase its drivers’ per-mile rates and other pay, that means the average salary will rise to $87,500, Walmart stated in a Jan. 23 release.
Walmart launched their new “onboarding events” that include assessments, mentorship, and a faster hiring process.
“The revamped orientation initiatives have already cut in half the time between a candidate’s initial interview and a mandatory driving assessment, expediting the time it takes to complete a new hire,” the company stated.
“These hiring events are both improving the skill level of our candidates and enriching their onboarding experience,” said Lori Furnell, Walmart’s director of driver talent acquisition. “We’re leaning heavily on the expertise of our Walmart road team and our certified driver trainers to grow our skilled fleet of professional drivers.”
Companies have been feeling pressure to recruit and retain talent in the rising job market. Unemployment averaged 3.9 percent in 2018, the lowest since 1969.
Less than 200,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits in the week ending Jan. 19, the least since 1969, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
“If you’re looking for good news on the economy, look no further than the labor market,” said Jim Baird, chief investment officer at Plante Moran Financial Advisors in Kalamazoo, Michigan. “Growth may be slowing, but the overall picture for workers and those seeking work remains quite positive.”
Economists expected the longest shutdown in history to push the unemployment rate above 4 percent in January as the furloughed workers would be considered unemployed.
The jobless rate rose two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.9 percent in December as the strong labor market conditions attracted some unemployed people back into the labor force.