Business

Wal-Mart to create jobs this year

As Wal-Mart Stores Inc. opens about 150 new or expanded stores in the U.S. in 2009, the company expects to hire about 22,000 people for new positions.

Those positions include plenty of cashiers and stock clerks, but the world's largest retailer will also be adding store managers, pharmacists and personnel workers.

Wal-Mart is holding its annual shareholders meeting on Friday, and employees from its stores around the world are spending the week in Bentonville at company headquarters.

Wal-Mart, still the target of criticism from union-backed groups for its pay and benefits, has improved its health insurance coverage and opened it to full- and part-time employees. The company says 94 percent of its employees have health coverage, either through Wal-Mart or another family member.

"At Wal-Mart, we offer competitive pay and benefits and real opportunities for our associates to advance and build careers," Wal-Mart Vice Chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright said. "Job creation is just one way in which we're working hard every day to help people across this country live better."

Other employee benefits include a 401(k) plan, stock purchases and discounts for workers making in-store purchases.

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