Small is the new big: HR department

Last month, I wrote that small is the new big. More demonstration of it: eBay is fast becoming one of the largest employers in America. Of course, it hardly employs anyone, but it enables a lot of people to employ themselves and run their own businesses: 724,000 people are using it as their full- or part-time employment, up 68 percent from a year go; another 1.5 million use it to supplement their income. Walmart is America’s largest employer with 1.1 million workers. Sure, the eBay-self-employed don’t have Walmart’s crappy benefits and uniforms (if eBay were really smart, they’d institute group health insurance!) but all those folks are their own bosses. As industry gets bigger and bigger, small becomes more and more of an economic force.

: See Rex Hammock in the comments on eBay’s power seller health insurance and the regulatory issues around it.

  • http://www.bloodandtreasure.com Noel Guinane

    Absolutely. It’s getting easier all the time for a small business to get their goods to market and get attention for them. eBay, Amazon, Google, podcasts, blogs, all make it possible not just to reach customers but to reach customers all over the world.

    It still takes those old fashioned virtues like hard work and smarts, but if you want the freedom to run your own show and you’ve got a good idea, the opportunity to bring customers in is there like it never has been before.

  • http://rexblog.com Rex Hammock

    eBay does, in fact, offer access to healthcare coverage to its “PowerSellers” — the folks who sell $1,000 per month for three consecutive months (and other stipulations). I don’t know if it’s a better deal than the sellers can get on their own, but I do know that when eBay first offered it, it was in response to the type of issue you raise. As health insurance is regulated state-by-state, it is difficult to pool-purchasing power for independent small businesses — there’s legislation working its way through Congress called “Association Health Plans” that might help solve this, however.

  • http://www.dailypundit.com Bill Quick

    Crappy benefits at WalMart?

    Jeff, did it ever cross your mind to actually check out a smear like that before offering it as fact?

    One of the reasons the MSM gets scored for both bias and untrustworthiness is that it thoughtlessly repeats, over and over, erroneous information simply because reporters just “know” it’s true, so why check it? I’m sure you have a wonderful benefits package. Meanwhile, out in the real world, WalMart’s package looks about as good as most non-union packages, and can hardly be described as “crappy.”

  • Skate

    @Bill

    Of course the WallMart “fact” page you linked to, Bill, skips the fact that WallMart employees make an average pay of about 31 percent less than large retail workers on average, and that the nation average of workers covered by employer health insurance is 67%, the WalMart average is 47 percent.

    WallMart’s health care coverage and its quality has a disproportionate impact on America because WallMart is the world’s largest private employer.

    Costco employees, on the other hand, make a higher than average wage for the retail sector. People who wish to support better pay but still demand deep discounts may wish to shop at Costco and skip WalMart–a company that would outsource all jobs if it could.

  • http://unbeknownst.net KirkH

    Costco employees, on the other hand, make a higher than average wage for the retail sector. People who wish to support better pay but still demand deep discounts may wish to shop at Costco and skip WalMart–a company that would outsource all jobs if it could.

    Of course Costco, Skate, employs far fewer people than Walmart (one L). So I could make the argument that Costco is simply enriching the quazi-elite at the expense of the impoverished masses, unlike Walmart, which is contrary to the left’s goals.

    By the way, any business will outsource and/or automate all of the jobs it can or else it will have higher prices and eventually go out of business which generally isn’t good for suffering employees.

  • http://www.dailypundit.com/sfrealblog Bill Quick

    Of course the WallMart “fact” page you linked to, Bill, skips the fact that WallMart employees make an average pay of about 31 percent less than large retail workers on average, and that the nation average of workers covered by employer health insurance is 67%, the WalMart average is 47 percent.

    Irrelevant, Skate. What are the pay scales in the areas where WalMart is located? I can tell you there aren’t any in San Francisco, while there is a Costco here. The Costco is going to pay higher wages than a WalMart in the wilds of the east Bay.

    In most companies, part timers aren’t covered by insurance. How many full time Walmart employees are covered?

  • Skate

    Well, to the pro WallMarters: is WallMart good for America?

    The question was brought up in the Frontline documentary. My conclusion, for a variety of reasons, is that in the long run, no. We can’t just keep outsourcing. Eventually no one will work in America. CEOs love outsourcing, but they assume that the job of CEO won’t be outsourced. That, too, will change.

  • http://www.laurencehaughton.com laurence haughton

    Sorry Skate but that is not good enough. This isn't cable news.

    What are these "reasons" that lead you to conclude Wal-Mart is not good for America? (And how long is "the long run?")

    What evidence do you have to show that "eventually no one will work in America?"

    What makes "Frontline" an expert on what's good for America?

  • Kevin Layden

    I work in grocery and can confirm that Walmart has a negative impact on my and my co-workers standard of living. Here in the Northwest (I just moved from Olympia, WA to Portland, OR), where Costco lives and thrives, Walmart is making steady in-roads. In a few communities, it has moved in a swallowed up small, independent businesses. I am certain that these communities are the worse for it. In Washington, more Walmart associates are on the state’s Basic Health plan than all other working people in the state combined. After Walmart began colonizing our area, our wages and benefits came under attack. I won’t shop there. I currently work for Safeway with 15 years seniority, but am considering going to work at Costco, in order to better be able to support my family. What could be bad about that? If I worked at Walmart, we’d be on welfare.