Resistance to WalMart opening new stores always amazes me. Really. Good jobs at good wages, many of them entry-level jobs with training and advancement possibilities. Excellent advantages for consumers, benefits for employees, and neighborhood redevelopment.
But the media loves to hate the giant retailer, and local small businesses always put up a predictable cry. When WalMart is blocked, you never hear about the folks who didn't get jobs or the insurance plans that don't get enrollees. The small stores are happy, but the next time an objection is raised, I'd love to see a report on the wages and benefits paid to employees of such mom and pop operations. There will be some exceptions, but the average worker who is not an owner would be better off at the WalMart.
I respect Hugh a lot, but on this one I think there's a plausible counter-argument to be made; indeed, that one can make a plausible conservative case against Wal-Mart.
First, the data show that entry of a Wal-Mart store into a community has only a very small positive impact on county-level employment. According to a study by Missouri economist Emek Basker, "in the first year after entry, retail employment in the county increases by approximately 100 jobs; this figure declines by half over the next five years as small and medium-sized retail establishments close. Wholesale employment declines by approximately 20 jobs over five years." (3) Note that the "typical Wal-Mart store employs 150-350 workers. These results suggest that employment increases by less than the full amount of Wal-Mart’s hiring, even before allowing other firms time to fully adjust to Wal-Mart’s entry." (14)
And this from The Neighborhood Retail Alliance, a group fighting the Wal-Marting of NYC.