Wal-Mart is the largest grocer in the United States, and the third-largest employer in the world.

Wal-Mart draws ire from some quarters for its low pay and for “erratic” work schedules that make it difficult for employees to arrange for childcare.  And people should pay attention: the company’s employment policies have an enormous impact on economies. When Wal-Mart comes to a community, it brings controversy. But as NPR reports, the company also brings something else: jobs.

Jennifer Ludden (@JenniferLudden) and Yuki Noguchi (@Yukinoguchi) report for NPR:


“I was never really against Wal-Mart — I was against the wages that they were paying,” says D.C. City Councilman Vincent Orange, who co-sponsored both wage bills. One point Orange made two years ago is that Wal-Mart’s wages are so low, and D.C.’s cost of living so high, that workers end up on social services — food assistance and the like. While that’s still true, Orange now says that it’s better, on balance, to have the jobs.

“Yes, there are people that work at Wal-Mart that utilize social services,” he says. “But Wal-Mart has also helped. Wal-Mart has offered jobs.”

Another conclusion? The communities that protest Wal-Mart do shop there.


Note: This is the second in a two-part series. The first installment ran yesterday; you can read and listen to it here.