The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting on the opening of a new Wal-Mart store in Southside Chicago:
24,500 Chicagoans applied for 325 jobs at a Wal-Mart opening Friday in south suburban Evergreen Park, one block outside the city limits.Often it is so hard to measure the impact of a single store on an area, but the Sun-Times, if their figures are accurate, give us a good snapshot.
"In our typical hiring process, you're pretty successful if you have 3,000 applicants," he said. "They were really crowing about 11,000 in Oakland, Calif., last year. So to get 25,000-plus applications and counting, I think is astonishing."
The 141,000-square-foot store has 36 departments, a "tire and lube express," vision center, Subway restaurant, pharmacy, garden center and drugstore. It will sell some groceries but no fresh produce or meats and no liquor. It is expected to generate $1 million in sales and property tax in the first year -- a windfall in a village that collects about $3 million a year in sales taxes, said Evergreen Park Mayor James J. Sexton. Evergreen Plaza, with 100 stores, generates about $2 million.
Jobs, jobs, jobs. That is what is about. If Wal-Mart is such a crummy place to work why are there 75 people applying for every single job at the store!! Explain that to me. The fact is, Wal-Mart creates jobs, jobs that people want. This one store will employ 325 people. The downstream economic impact will probably employ a few hundred more people. In all, in addition to the Wal-Mart employees, it is possible that the store will help create at least 325 more jobs.
By the way, when you have 24,500 people competing for 325 jobs, that means only you get an acceptance rate of a little over 1.3%. Want to do some comparison:
- The U.S. Navy SEALS, the most elite military force in America and possibly the world, accepts 5% of its applicants.
- Harvard University's Undergraduate program accepts 9.1% of its applicants.
- Even MENSA requires that you be in the top 2% on an intelligence test!! Thus, this Wal-Mart store had to be more selective than even MENSA.
Finally, in the "you snooze, you lose Category,"
"I always tell people I'm not for Wal-Mart, but I am for that project coming into the city and to my ward. We can't beat them," said Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. (21st). "The same things they talk about Wal-Mart doing to Small Town U.S.A when they build on the outskirts of town is the same thing they have done to the City of Chicago without fanfare. Nobody distinguishes that if I cross Western Avenue at 95th Street, I am no longer in Chicago. For all practical purposes, Wal-Mart is in the city of Chicago without us receiving any benefit. You're going to see the parking lot filled with cars with Chicago city stickers."When even an anti-Wal-Mart politician laments the loss of tax revenue, Wal-Mart must be doing something right.
Eighteen months ago, Brookins negotiated with Wal-Mart for a store at 83rd and Stewart, former site of the Ryerson steel plant. His plan fell apart when other South Side aldermen failed to support his request for a zoning change. The week before, aldermen gave the go-ahead for a Wal-Mart in the Austin neighborhood on the West Side. The vote came after a contentious 2-1/2-hour debate.