Where fast-food workers toil longest for a Big Mac
While low-paid employees in Sierra Leone would have to labor for 136 hours, US workers are hardly in first place.
McDonald's (MCD) Big Mac serves as a cultural Rorschach test, viewed as either a beloved food icon or a symbol of society's ills, depending on a person's outlook. But the famous burger also has a role in the business world as an economic indicator.
Strategists at the trading firm ConvergEx have created a minimum wage Big Mac index, which looks at how long low-earning workers in various countries would need to toil to buy one of Mickey D's famous burgers.
For American workers, the report offers a tantalizing slice of good news and a whopping dose of depressing reality.
First the good news. The U.S. is far from the worst place to work when it comes to Big Mac affordability. Several countries require their lowest-paid workers to toil far longer to afford a burger, and Sierra Leone is the worst.
Workers in the African country, which suffered a devastating decade-long war in the 1990s, must work 136 hours to afford a Big Mac, given the country's 3-cent minimum wage. Nevertheless, the issue is moot for most Sierra Leone residents because there's no McDonald's restaurant within its borders.
American minimum-wage workers place in the middle of the pack, requiring about 34 minutes of labor to afford a Big Mac
"If we compare apples to apples how many hours it takes to earn a Big Mac at minimum wage, the U.S. again comes right in the middle at number 8," ConvergEx researchers write.
So what's the bad news? First, workers in many of the world's developed countries outpace American workers, including those in Australia, New Zealand, France and Canada.
Workers in Australia were the best off, needing just 18 minutes to buy a burger. McDonald's wages in Australia are about $15 per hour, or double the U.S. minimum wage of $7.25.
But looking simply at the baseline pay might be missing the beef, the strategists note. That's because the battle over the minimum wage -- with conservatives arguing against a proposed increase -- ignores the impact of benefits. Only 9% of U.S. wages are paid out through benefits, lower than the 16.2% average for 30 countries surveyed by Bureau of Labor Statistics, the report notes.
"For comparison's sake, the amount of benefits you are paid for working in the U.S. are closest to those you might get if you were working in Greece or New Zealand," the strategists write. "Even Singapore has higher benefit pay than U.S. workers."
Given that minimum wage workers are less likely to receive benefits than higher-paid employees, that means $7.25 an hour "certainly isn't enough to pay for . . . medical expenses or to save for retirement."
Even a side of fries can't make that analysis any more palatable to America's low earners.
What kind of moron could possibly expect to support a family working@ mickey D's
Its fairly evident that most of these people were slackers and expect to go to the front of the line with the people who applied themselves right from the start and worked hard. Well it don't work that way
Great story Aimee, now tell me where the US ranks as far as average wage?
At $42,000 per year, that would put us at number 1.
I think Aimee would rather us be like Australia and replace all low wage worker with Kiosks.
$15 an hour for a fast food worker. You have got to be kidding me. What the hell makes these people think they deserve so much more then any other employee in any other job? They want to make more money? Then they need to get up off their lazy asses and get an education or look for a better paying job. You think McDonalds or Burger King are the only places in the world to work. Well they are not. I hope they all lose their jobs when they walk out.
fast food jobs are first time jobs or just filler jobs or to make some extra money. Anyone who thinks spending 15 years flipping burgers is a career move deserves to get $8 an hour. I am sure there have been opportunities to make more money at other jobs. I seen one article talk about a 20 year old girl who says she cant make it on 7 something an hour while living with her unemployed boyfriend and 1 year old daughter. Well make the damn boyfriend get off his lazy **** and be a man and find a job to help support his family. Must be real bum if he cant work at McDonalds like his girlfriend. How much talent or education do you need to ask if you want fries with that or if you want to super size that.
All this represents is the lazy percent of americans who want something for nothing. Oh blah blah blah they work on their feet. How many people in other jobs are on their feet all day and don't make anymore. Just because your a fast food worker you are better then them and deserve more? Get a life. We have all had to struggle doing jobs for little pay but we still managed to make it and to get out and find better paying jobs. How many times have you gone into McDonalds or Burger King or Hardees and seen the employee's standing around leaning on the counter or goofing around not to mention getting your orders wrong. They are paid fairly for what they have to do. Better give farm hands and babysitters and paper boys and girls 20 or 30 dollars an hour.
They want to cry about how much the corporations and franchise owners are making with their businesses. Well welcome to life. Show me one damn business that is out there just so their employees can make money. If these fast food workers were running businesses they would be doing the same thing. Can they honestly say they would give up making as much money as they can just so they can give their employees whatever they want? I don't think so.
Every since I heard about his I have not been able to look at any fast food employee with respect. I see them and all I see is greedy lazy americans who cannot apply themselves or attempt to make better lives for themselves.
I don't go to fast food places much any more. They cost to much and I can go to a sit down place foe the same price or less and if they get something wrong I don't have to drive back to get them to fix it. I hate going into a fast food place as more times as not if they are not slammed they are standing around BS'ing and they make you wait until they are done with whatever story they are telling. Fast food is gone, as it isn't that fast nor that good. Burgers taste uhh, they don't taste like burgers anymore. I've have gotten rotten tomatoes, lettuce, and no "special" sauce on my burgers. It seems that the fast food worker is there to collect a paycheck and doesn't care if the customer is happy to go there, if they get what they ordered, or even if the food they give the customer is eatable. I'm sure not everyone working in fast food is this way, nor is every fast food place this way, to me more are than not.
Here in Calif. most fast food workers can't speak English. To me, immigrants who can't speak English
are illegals, mostly from Mexico. How can these fast food business's get away with hiring iIlegals and
how can they protest for higher wages?
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A basic income policy can actually ensure a decent standard of living for everyone.
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