Conditions for Workers at Target: Estimates for a Proposed California Supercenter

Using publicly available data, the author finds that the pay of the typical job offered at a proposed Target Supercenter in San Rafael, California will be very low. This is primarily due to two factors.

First, general merchandise stores such as Target tend to pay lower wages than the average firm. Second, part-time jobs tend to pay less than full-time positions, and Target plans to use a large percentage of part-time workers—on the order of 55 percent of more. This is high even within Target’s specific retail sector: general merchandise stores, on average, have a workforce that is 32.6 percent part-time.

Moreover, low proportions of these part-time workers can be expected to receive benefits through their Target jobs: less than one in five part-time workers will likely receive health insurance benefits from these Target jobs and just over one-third of part-time workers will likely participate in Target’s retirement plans.

Finally, the low pay of these positions combined with part-time schedules produces earnings far below what households need to meet their families’ basic needs. The typical non-supervisory part-time position provides at most one-third of what a worker raising children needs to cover his/her family’s basic expenses. Even full-time first-line supervisor positions only generate enough earnings to fall just short of what a single adult, with no children, needs to cover his/her basic expenses.

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