TIME Careers & Workplace

These Are the Companies Cutting the Most Jobs

businessman-box-full-stuff
Getty Images

Technology companies were the largest downsizers in 2014

Planned job cuts among U.S. companies in 2014 totaled 450,531 through November, down 5.8% compared to the same period in 2013. According to global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, this was the lowest count of year-end job cut announcements since 1997.

No company announced more layoffs in 2014 than Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HPQ), which announced a total of 21,000 job cuts. Based on data from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the companies that planned the most job cuts last year.

Click here to see the companies cutting the most jobs.

In some cases, companies shed jobs in an effort to return to profitability or because they become insolvent. However, in an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Challenger, Gray & Christmas CEO John Challenger explained that this is not the case for most companies. Particularly in a strong economy, many companies are “doing regular strategic evaluation of their business looking for areas of redundancy, [and] looking for ways to make their organization a tighter ship.”

Technology companies were the largest downsizers last year with several long-time stalwarts leading the way. Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), and Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) announced the most job cuts, not only among tech companies, but also overall. The industry as a whole announced more than 58,000 job cuts in 2014, the highest number among all industries. According to Challenger, “technology is a particularly volatile sector in our economy [because] products become obsolete more quickly than they do in some other industries that are slower, safer, and have less opportunity.”

The industry with the second largest planned layoffs in 2014 was retail, with nearly 42,000 job cuts announced. This figure is actually down from 2013, despite layoffs at Sears (NASDAQ: SHLD), as well as Coldwater Creek, which declared bankruptcy in April. Financial companies, too, were among the top companies cutting jobs. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), for example, was among the 10 companies with the most planned layoffs in 2014.

One factor that often drives job cuts is industry evolution. According to Challenger, this is especially true in the retail sector. “It’s an area of low margins and fierce competition and technology is making a big difference in how consumers are coming to stores,” Challenger said. Retailers are making cuts, he explained, as a result of the changing retail landscape, especially the fact that more shopping is done online.

Other companies cut jobs in an effort to continue to stay competitive. Shareholders invest in companies that they hope will generate higher returns than other companies. In order to provide such returns, companies often restructure their operations to trim costs and increase profits, which can lead to layoffs. Sears Holdings, which has been reporting declining sales and consistent losses in recent years, is undergoing one of the most dramatic such restructurings. CEO Eddie Lampert set up a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) to buy Sears stores and lease them back to the company and others. This raised the company’s stock price considerably despite the fact Sears is still losing money.

In some cases, the companies that announced layoffs truly had no choice. For example, Coldwater Creek had to close all of its stores after filing for bankruptcy protection. Not only were shareholders wiped out in the bankruptcy, but also the company had to close all of its stores in order to pay off its creditors, eliminating thousands of jobs in the process.

Challenger Gray & Christmas provided 24/7 Wall St. with all job cut announcements affecting at least 500 positions through 2015. 24/7 Wall St. combined the planned cuts by company to identify the companies that announced the most job cuts last year. We only considered publicly traded American companies. However, job cuts did not need to be entirely within the United States. Some cuts announced last year may not be completed until later this year. Consolidated revenues and employee totals are from each company’s most recent financial report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. If the company did not disclose global headcount for the quarter, figures from its last annual report were used. We relied in part on our previous analysis of Challenger Grey & Christmas data published September 25th. To the extent layoff figures were unchanged from that period, discussions of companies that also appeared in our earlier article were kept the same.

These are the 10 companies cutting the most jobs.

10. Amgen Inc.
> Job cuts: 4,000
> Number of employees: 18,000
> 1yr. share price change: +27.28%

In recent years, biotechnology company Amgen has reduced its global workforce as part of its restructuring plan to focus on drug development. While layoffs in the technology sector more than doubled between the first halves of 2013 and 2014, job cuts in the pharmaceutical industry declined in that time, falling by 15.4%. Despite the industry trend, the company announced in August it would cut 2,900 employees. In October, Amgen announced it would close a research and development facility in Seattle that would result in an additional 1,100 job cuts, bringing the 2014 total to about 4,000. The restructuring plan will reduce the company’s workforce by up to 15% and includes the closure of several facilities in Washington and Colorado. Amgen reported strong earnings in 2013 and in 2014. According to the company, the layoffs are “natural steps in a long-term strategy.”

ALSO READ: 10 States With the Worst Taxes for the Average American

9. Procter & Gamble
> Job cuts: 4,430
> Number of employees: 118,000
> 1yr. share price change: +11.72%

Procter & Gamble announced in early November it would cut 4,430 jobs, the ninth highest number of announced job cuts reviewed. Last year marks the fourth consecutive year the consumer products company has reduced its total workforce. As of 2014, there were 118,000 Procter & Gamble employees, versus 132,000 in 2009. As is the case with many other companies, cost-cutting measures such as layoffs are often part of a strategy to maintain consistent income growth. P&G’s net sales have grown each year since as early as 2012. The company reported net sales of $83.1 billion in the 12 months prior to June 2014. In addition to slashing employment, P&G also announced in August that it would eliminate as many as 100 underperforming brands to further improve results.

8. Sprint Corp.
> Job cuts: 5,000
> Number of employees: 36,000
> 1yr. share price change: -40.27%

Sprint Corporation, one of the nation’s largest cellphone carriers, stated at the end of October it would lay off 5,000 workers for restructuring purposes. Earlier that month Sprint cut 452 jobs at its headquarters in Kansas. Sprint had 36,000 employees at the end of 2014, down from the approximately 38,000 employees it had the year before. Despite the layoffs, Sprint may roughly double its store count in a deal with RadioShack, which recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. If the deal is finalized, Sprint would operate as a store-within-a-store in nearly 2,000 RadioShacks.

7. Intel Corp.
> Job cuts: 5,350
> Number of employees: 106,700
> 1yr. share price change: +35.66%

At the start of 2014, after poor earnings and growth forecasts, Intel announced it would implement cost cutting measures. Part of the measures included plans to reduce its global workforce by 5,350 people, or 5% of its headcount, throughout the year. According to Intel spokesperson Chris Kraeuter, the cuts would primarily consist of “people retiring, redeploying, or leaving voluntarily.” In addition, the chip maker announced in April that it was shutting down its assembly and test operations in Costa Rica. While this eliminated 1,500 jobs, Intel continued to employ more than 1,000 engineering, finance, and human resources workers in the country.

6. Sears Holdings
> Job cuts: 5,400
> Number of employees: 249,000
> 1yr. share price change: -9.32%

While layoffs are not always a sign of weak revenue, retail holding company Sears has been closing stores and shedding employees for years as a result of faltering sales. The company reported revenue of $36.2 billion for the 12 months through February 1, 2014, down by more than $3.6 billion from the previous period. According to Challenger, Gray, & Christmas, Sears announced in October 5,400 job cuts, the sixth largest compared with other U.S. public companies. However, Sears is closing stores so fast that it may be difficult to keep track. In 2014, the company closed 235 stores, most of which were Kmart locations. The layoffs were announced at a time when most retailers were hiring workers for the holiday season. As of the beginning of 2014, Sears had roughly 226,000 U.S. employees, including part-time workers.

ALSO READ: Cities Where Crime is Soaring

5. Coldwater Creek
> Job cuts: 5,500
> Number of employees: N/A
> 1yr. share price change: -92.84%

Women’s apparel retailer Coldwater Creek filed for bankruptcy in April after it was unable to find a buyer for its operations. Shareholders in the company were wiped out as the company began the process of closing its 350 stores and laying off its 5,500 workers. However, there may be a silver lining for at least a few employees. As part of bankruptcy proceedings, other retailers bought a number of Coldwater Creek’s leases. While most employees may be out of luck, customers may be able to soon buy Coldwater Creek merchandise again. Private equity firm Sycamore Partners bought the Coldwater Creek brand name. The new owner relaunched the brand as Coldwater Creek Direct, an online retailer that aims to sell women apparel via a catalog.

For the rest of the list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

TIME Companies

Mark Zuckerberg Doesn’t Want All the Credit for Bringing the Internet to More People

Mark Zuckerberg attendes Mobile World Congress 2015
David Ramos—Getty Images Founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg speaks during his keynote conference during the first day of the Mobile World Congress 2015 at the Fira Gran Via complex on March 2, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.

"It's really important not to lose sight of the fact that people driving this are the operators"

Mark Zuckerberg kept a low profile Monday during his Mobile World Congress keynote about Internet.org, Facebook’s project to spread Internet connectivity to underserved areas with wireless carriers’ help.

The Facebook founder downplayed his company’s role in Internet.org, instead urging the audience to recognize the work and investments of mobile carriers. Zuckerberg delivered his keynote alongside executives from three global telecommunications companies.

“While it’s sexy to talk about [Internet.org’s Internet-beaming] satellites, the real work happens here, by the companies. It’s really important not to lose sight of the fact that people driving this are the operators,” Zuckerberg said. “Too often Internet.org is conflated with Facebook.”

People in the parts of the developing world where Internet.org’s app is available get access to Facebook, Google search and some other services for free. But the end goal is to convince these users to eventually purchase data plans from wireless carriers — and so far, Internet.org has been successfully driving new smartphone use.

“It Colombia, it’s very encouraging to see about 50% more people in three weeks in our network as new data users,” said Mario Zanetti, senior EVP of Latin America at telecom company Millicom. “In Tanzania, we have seen a ten-fold increase in the number of smartphone sales since we launched the [Internet.org] campaign. So it’s pretty impressive numbers.”

Despite Zuckerberg’s efforts to highlight the work of Internet.org’s carrier partners, it’s hard to see the project being successful without Facebook’s involvement. Zuckerberg’s company has largely spearheaded the organization’s efforts, while its offerings in the Internet.org app, like Facebook Messenger, are a big draw to attract users.

However, some mobile carries could be worried that Facebook might cannibalize their voice and texting plans with its own services. Last year, Facebook acquired chat app WhatsApp, which became popular as means of avoiding wireless carriers’ texting fees.

“This is a point of tension between operators and Facebook in particular. It’s a consideration for any company to be careful to deliver the ‘key’ to the competitor,” said Jon Fredrik Baksaas, CEO of telecom company Telenor. “You really want to watch that ‘key’, and you want to control how that ‘key’ develops. That’s where the disruption comes.”

TIME Companies

Lumber Liquidators Defends Itself Against 60 Minutes Report

Lumber Liquidators store in Denver on Feb. 25, 2015.
Rick Wilking — Reuters Lumber Liquidators store in Denver on Feb. 25, 2015.

The news program reportedly found that the company sold flooring breach of California's health and safety standards

Lumber Liquidators is defending itself against allegations that the retailer’s hardwood flooring fails safety tests.

The specialty retailer of hardwood flooring is in the crosshairs of a report by television news program “60 Minutes,” which aired a special on Sunday that alleged the company sold flooring with higher levels of formaldehyde than permitted under California’s health and safety standards.

The news has badly bruised Lumber Liquidators’ stock since last week, when media reports said the “60 Minutes” report would cast Lumber Liquidators in a negative light. Shares, which traded near $70 last week, have slumped in recent days and were trading near $40. The stock is down over 20% on Monday alone.

“We stand by every single plank of wood and laminate we sell all around the country,” said Lumber Liquidators in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The retailer, which generated $1.05 billion in revenue in 2014, said it was in compliance with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which is the only regulator of composite core emissions. The company said it also adheres to those standards in other regions even though the regulations only apply to California.

“We believe that 60 Minutes used an improper test method in its reporting that is not included in CARB’s regulations and does not measure a product according to how it is actually used by consumers,” the retailer said. “Our chairman addressed the differences and our position on the test methodology but 60 Minutes chose not to include it.”

CBS’s “60 Minutes” reportedly tested the retailer’s floorings in several states for levels of formaldehyde, a cancer-causing chemical. CBS reportedly found that out of the 31 samples tested, only one was compliant, according to Reuters.

Lumber Liquidators competes with national and local retailers of hardwood flooring. The company, which was founded in 1994 and debuted on the public market in 2007, operates 352 retail stores. The retailer and two large competitors — Home Depot and Lowe’s — control about one third of hardwood flooring retail market.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME Companies

Warren Buffett Says He’s Found a Successor — But Won’t Say Who

Warren Buffett
Nati Harnik—AP Billionaire investor Warren Buffett speaks in Omaha, Neb., Nov. 14, 2011. Buffett's annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders is always one of the best-read business documents of the year. The 2015 letter marks the 50th year of Buffett's leadership.

“Both the board and I believe we now have the right person to succeed me as CEO"

Warren Buffett’s successor is in the house. But that’s all the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway is saying.

Once again, in this year annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, Buffett has not unmasked who the next CEO will be. But he does say as definitively as ever that the person has been picked and he has revealed a little bit more about who he is. (Buffett has already confirmed in the past that the next CEO of Berkshire will be a man.)

That’s more than Buffett has said in the past. But the fact that, once again, the next CEO of Berkshire has not been named may come as a disappointment to some.

This year’s letter is the 50th Buffett has written as the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. And, as promised, a section of the letter is titled, “The Next 50 Years at Berkshire.” Some had speculated that meant Buffett would take the opportunity to name his successor. Some have said the fact that he hasn’t has been a drag on the company’s stock in the past, though it’s hard to see evidence of that. Berkshire’s shares were up 27% in 2014, about double the market in general.

In his clearest statement on the subject so far, Buffett writes in this year’s letter, “Both the board and I believe we now have the right person to succeed me as CEO – a successor ready to assume the job the day after I die or step down.”

In previous annual letters, Buffett has said that Berkshire’s board knows who he would pick for CEO should that person be needed immediately. But he has left the door open to changing his mind later on. Buffett now appears appears to have closed that door.

Buffett also says for the first time that the next CEO of Berkshire will be someone who already works at the company. He says that was a requirement of Berkshire directors. In the past, Buffett has said only that his pick for the next CEO of Berkshire is someone the company could put into that position in a flash, not that his chosen successor was already an employee of the company.

Buffett also puts a very loose age range on the next CEO. He writes in this year’s letter that Berkshire’s directors believe the next CEO should be someone relatively young, who can be expected to run the company for at least 10 years. But Buffett says he doesn’t expect the board to pick someone who is likely to retire at 65, giving some wiggle room to how “relatively young” this person may be.

Buffett also says that his successor will be “vigilant and determined” at warding off the “ABCs of business decay, which are arrogance, bureaucracy and complacency.” Buffett says those are the three sins that have brought down companies that once sat “atop huge industries” but through bad behavior fell to depths their CEOs didn’t think possible. It’s noteworthy that Buffett includes General Motors GM -0.67% and IBM IBM 0.67% in that group, two stocks that are currently in Berkshire’s portfolio.

So, there you have it. Berkshire’s next CEO will be a 55-ish man who currently works at Berkshire and is not prone to mucking up what Buffett has built over the past 50 years. If you fit that description, congrats!

In the past, Berkshire watchers have kept a careful watch on which top lieutenants gets the most mentions in Buffett’s annual letter. This year, the clear winner is Ajit Jain, who runs Berkshire Hathaway’s largest insurance division. “[Jain’s] mind, moreover, is an idea factory,” Buffett writes in the letter. But at 63, Jain may be a little too old for the job, if Buffett sticks to his prescribed age range.

Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, Buffett’s back up investment managers, get a mention in the letter and praise for their investing abilities. And Buffett says he has handed over a bit more control to them. Buffett says both managers have been given one of Berkshire’s smaller companies to look after and both are taking on the title of chairman of those firms. But, unlike in previous years, Buffett says nothing about the performance of Combs and Weschler’s investments in 2014. Fortune calculated that both lagged the market for the first time since joining Berkshire.

Buffett makes no mention in this year’s letter of Matt Rose, the chairman of BNSF, who Buffett has praised in previous letters and some have speculated is a front runner for the CEO job. Perhaps that’s ecause BNSF had a disappointing 2014, or perhaps Rose, 55, is out of the running. Only Buffett, and Berkshire’s board, knows.

This article was originally published on Fortune.com

TIME Companies

Google Isn’t Banning Porn Blogging After All

A sign is posted on the exterior of Google headquarters on Jan. 30, 2014 in Mountain View, California.
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images A sign is posted on the exterior of Google headquarters on Jan. 30, 2014 in Mountain View, California.

Blogger users can keep posting nude photos

Google is backing down from its new porn policy four days after announcing a plan to block sexually explicit images from its blogging service.

The company said on its Blogger help forum Friday that it will keep its old policies in place and instead work harder to crack down on commercial porn using the previous rules.

“We’ve had a ton of feedback, in particular about the introduction of a retroactive change (some people have had accounts for 10+ years), but also about the negative impact on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities,” wrote Jessica Pelegio, a Google social product support manager.

Under the new rules, Blogger users would have been banned from posting graphic nudity except in specific circumstances deemed appropriate by Google. Old blogs with sexual imagery would have retroactively been made private.

TIME Web

Google Just Made It Easier to Search for Flights Online

And you don't even have to know where you want to go

Google has updated its flight-search tool and included an array of cool features.

Much like most flight-comparison sites, Google offers a range of fares and available flight options.

Photo: Google

But for undecided travelers, the newest feature lets users plug in countries or whole regions. For example, enter “flights to Europe” and a map will appear showing varying prices for different European destinations.

And if you really have no idea where to travel, you can even hit the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button to generate a completely random location.

Flexible-date search options are also available so users can compare prices across multiple months, and the search engine will even suggest tips for how you can bag a cheaper deal.

Google Flights was launched in 2011, but the latest version of the site was announced on Wednesday.

Read next: 10 Google Maps Tricks You Need to Know

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Companies

SeaWorld Aims to Revamp Image After Blackfish Blowback

Marketing push is about "changing mind-sets," company says

The once-beloved theme park SeaWorld is still reeling from the effects of the 2013 critical documentary Blackfish, which linked stress caused by holding killer whales captive to the 2010 death of a trainer. But SeaWorld Entertainment indicated Thursday it has plans to reshape its brand.

On a call with analysts, during which the Orlando Sentinel reports the company announced its fourth-quarter earnings were worse than expected, SeaWorld announced it would launch a new marketing campaign in April aimed at people who haven’t picked a side in the debate between those who are against keeping animals in captivity and those who remain loyal to the park.

“This is not a hit-and-run, as we say in the marketing world, where you can just advertise for a month and hope it goes away,”Board Chairman and interim CEO David D’Alessandro said. “This is changing mind-sets and making sure mind-sets stay changed, recognizing that the opposition is not going to stand still as we do this.”

Read more at the Orlando Sentinel.

TIME Companies

The Fascinating History of the Coca-Cola Bottle

Manufacture Of Coke Light Soft Drinks At The Coca-Cola Hellenic Plant In Cyprus
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Empty glass bottles of Coca-Cola Light, also known as diet Coke, travel along a conveyor belt ahead of filling at the Lanitis Bros Ltd. bottling plant, part of the Coca-Cola Hellenic Group, in Nicosia, Cyprus, on Tuesday, June 10, 2014.

The anniversary comes at a difficult time for the soda maker

Coca-Cola is making a lot of the 100th anniversary of its iconic bottle. Given what’s happening with soda sales generally, and Coke sales in particular, the festivities come at a delicate time.

The celebration of the bottle includes an ad campaign in more than 100 countries featuring Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and Ray Charles, and an exhibit at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta called “The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100.” The exhibit will include “more than 100 objects, including more than 15 works of art by Andy Warhol and more than 40 photographs inspired by or featuring the bottle,” the company said in a statement.

Warhol, of course, was pilloried for his seeming embrace of consumerism though works like the Campbell Soup Cans and Coke Bottles, though of course it wasn’t that simple. The result was that the counterculture had infiltrated consumer culture, and vice versa. Warhol, who saw consumer products as having a leveling effect, said this about Coke:

What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.

The original bottle was designed by the Root Glass Company in Indiana, nearly 30 years after the product was launched in 1886. Root won a contest where participants were challenged to “develop a container recognizable even if broken on the ground or touched in the dark.” Root’s design allowed consumers to recognize the product “even if they felt it in the dark,” according to Coke.

The celebration comes during a rough period for Coke. It has implemented a massive cost-cutting campaign. Its quarterly profits were down by 55%, it reported earlier this month. Meanwhile, sales of sugary soft drinks in general are plunging, having dropped by more than 20% between 2004 and 2014. In an effort to capitalize on consumers’ move away from sugar and toward protein, Coke has introduced Fairlife milk products. The bottles are pretty cool, but one can wonder if anybody will be celebrating them 100 years from now.

TIME Companies

Do This 1 Thing For a Better Google Ranking

Google Mobile Search
JEWEL SAMAD—AFP/Getty Images Google's lead designer for "Inbox by Gmail" Jason Cornwell shows the app's functionalities on a Nexus 6 android phone during a media preview in New York on October 29, 2014.

Mobile-friendly sites will do better in search results next month

Google is once again tweaking its search algorithm with a new change that should have some benefits for users.

The company announced in a Thursday blog post that it will rank mobile-optimized sites higher in search results starting April 21. Sites that work well on a smartphone will get a “significant” boost over other sites, the company says.

The change should ensure that people conducting Google searches on their phone typically arrive on easily-readable sites rather than messy desktop-based layouts that are hard to navigate on a small screen. Google offers a form where developers can input a URL to see whether it is mobile-friendly or not.

In addition to the algorithm change, Google said starting Thursday it will begin surfacing content hidden within apps more prominently in search results. If a developer has enabled App Indexing, Google’s search bots can crawl the contents of an app just like a Web page. Information from the app can show up along with regular search results on Google.

It makes sense that Google would want to incentivize App Indexing. The search giant doesn’t have the stranglehold on information queries on phones as it does on the desktop because people often boot up more narrowly-focused apps (Amazon for shopping, Yelp for food) instead of using Google to trawl the entire World Wide Web. More indexing means more valuable information that Google can present to users and serve ads against.

TIME Companies

TJ Maxx and Marshalls to Follow Walmart in Pay Bumps

U.S. workers will see pay increased to at least $9 an hour starting in June

(NEW YORK) — The owner of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods stores became the latest retailer to boost pay for its U.S. workers, putting pressure on other chains to do the same.

TJX Cos. said Wednesday that it will increase pay for its U.S. workers to at least $9 an hour starting in June. The announcement came a week after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it would increase starting wages for its U.S. employees to at least $9 per hour by April and by at least $10 by Feb. 2016. Home furnishings retailer IKEA and Gap clothing chain also have raised pay recently.

John Challenger, CEO of global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., said the moves could create a domino effect in which other companies follow suit in order to compete for top talent.

“Other retailers may have no other choice but to follow,” he said. “The pool of available labor is starting to shrink and it will take more than a store discount to attract the best of available candidates.”

The moves by the major retailers to raise wages come at a pivotal time when the plight of hourly workers has made national headlines.

Protests by fast food workers asking for higher pay have increased. Labor-backed groups have taken aim at Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private employer with 1.3 million workers, to start entry wages at $15 per hour. And President Obama is endorsing a bill in Congress that includes a proposed increase in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, while several states are considering raising their minimum wages.

At the same time, there’s much national debate about what is a “living wage,” or enough money for a worker to make in order to make ends meet. Most retail workers already make more than the federal minimum wage but not much more. In fact, more than half of retail workers make $10 or less, according to David Cooper of The Economic Policy Institute.

According to the most recent government data, the average that hourly retail workers in a non-supervisory role earn is $14.65, but that includes people who work at auto dealers and other outlets that pay more than traditional retailers. The average hourly pay is $9.93 for cashiers and low-level retail sales staff, according to Hay Group’s survey of 140 retailers with annual sales of $500 million.

Whatever the major players in the U.S. retail industry decide to do will have a big impact on the job market as a whole. In fact, the industry supports one in every four U.S. jobs, representing about 42 million workers.

Still, the industry has mostly shunned the idea of higher wages. The National Retail Federation, which represents some of the nation’s largest retailers, is fighting President Obama’s proposal, saying the financial burden could force them to raise prices or reduce workforce.

Target Corp. executives weighed in on the issue Wednesday during the company’s earnings conference call, saying that it is always assessing the marketplace to determine competitive wages. But they said the recent announcements from Wal-Mart and others haven’t changed their views on wages. Executives declined to comment on Target’s average hourly wage rate, but they did say all of Target’s workers make more than the federal minimum wage. A Credit Suisse report estimates Target pays $9.06 per hour, based on a sample size of 985 workers.

“Our goal is to make sure we have the very best team in retail,” Target’s CEO Brian Cornell told investors Wednesday. “And we’re going to continue to invest in their development and make sure … we’re very competitive with the wages we provide.”

TJX spokeswoman Doreen Thompson declined to say what its workers currently earn, but a recent Credit Suisse report estimates TJX’s current hourly pay at about $8.24, based on a sampling of 116 workers.

In addition to higher starting wages, TJX, which has 191,000 workers globally that restock shelves, greet customers and ring up purchases, said that in 2016, the company plans to pay all workers who have worked at its stores for more than six months at least $10 per hour.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser