LUMBERTON — Tim Scott was one of countless Robeson County residents who arrived at the Walmart Hiring Center office last week at 400 E. Second St. in search of a new start.
“I just want something closer to home,” Scott said. “My last job had me traveling to every state for nine years. I just miss being with my kids.”
Scott isn’t the only Robeson County resident in need of work. The county’s unemployment rate of 9.3 percent in June is well above the state average. Additionally, about one third of the population is on Medicaid and the annual median house income is less than $25,000 a year.
Mega-retailer Walmart is providing some relief as it will be creating 180 new jobs total at two new Walmart Neighborhood Markets now under construction in Lumberton.
The Walmart Markets, which at 40,000 square feet each are roughly a quarter the size of a Walmart Super Center, will focus mostly on grocery sales, though both would be built with pharmacy and gas station amenities. Both locations would also serve as pickup outlets for those who have purchased items from Walmart’s website. Lumberton already has a Walmart Super Center, located on Fayetteville Road, and there is also one located in Pembroke.
The two new locations will be at 2985 E. Elizabethtown Road and 2503 W. Fifth St. According to Bill Wertz, Walmart spokesperson, the jobs offered will vary from full-time to part-time and on average will pay $12.83 an hour. Wertz says that both part-time and full-time workers receive benefits such as health insurance, a 401(k) plan and a discount on Walmart purchases.
“Not only are these good jobs, they are very competitive jobs in the retail world,” Wertz said. “They are also a starting point for many people who move up in the ranks. Seventy-five percent of those in management started out as hourly workers. Not many companies can say that.”
That is good news to residents like Tamika Jones, who just left her last job a month ago and doesn’t want to waste any time before starting on something new.
“We need these jobs,” Jones said. “ … This is good for the community that has really struggled.”
Those interested in applying can do so at the Walmart Hiring Office on East Second Street, online or at any Walmart location.
The Walmart Markets, also called Walmart Neighborhood Markets, are a chain of grocery stores that offer baked goods, dairy, deli, frozen food, meat, produce, seafood, snack and liquor products. The first Walmart Market opened in 1998. As of December, there are 333 Walmart Markets throughout the United States.