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American Prospects

Why You Shouldn't Shop at Wal-Mart on Friday

November 23, 2012

A half century ago America?s largest private-sector employer was General Motors, whose full-time workers earned an average hourly wage of around $50, in today?s dollars, including health and pension benefits.

Today, America?s largest employer is Wal-Mart, whose average employee earns $8.81 an hour. A third of Wal-Mart?s employees work less than 28 hours per week and don?t qualify for benefits.

There are many reasons for the difference?including globalization and technological changes that have shrunk employment in American manufacturing while enlarging it in sectors involving personal services, such as retail.

But one reason, clo

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