The unemployment stats were looking slightly less grim last week, as the administration announced a tenth of a percent decrease in the jobless rate. There’s likely to be another decrease next month based on the current news that a large corporation will be hiring as many as 50,000 workers this month.
The downside? Not very many of these jobs will offer enough to live on.
CNN Business reveals that McDonald’s is planning a 50,000 hiring “spree” on April 19th, both full and part-time, crew level to management. The hiring on that day alone will increase the workforce from 650,000 to 700,000, a nearly 8 percent increase. But although some of the management positions may offer $50,000 a year, a majority of these hires will make an average of $8.30 an hour, or roughly $17,000 a year.
There’s a reason a fast food giant can hire so many people currently. Wages have remained stagnant so long, and employment has been so grim, that low budget restaurants have been having record profits, cashing in on the need for cheap food for workers with no time to cook due to juggling jobs. It’s good for the companies, whose bottom line is growing, but not so good for the people to whom these are the only jobs available as the economy “recovers.”
As the New York Times reports, the new economy is adding jobs in retail, fast food, health care and the hospitality industry, but these jobs are barely paying enough to keep a family afloat, much less help them become economically secure.
According to ["The Basic Economic Security Tables for the United States"], a single worker needs an income of $30,012 a year — or just above $14 an hour — to cover basic expenses and save for retirement and emergencies. That is close to three times the 2010 national poverty level of $10,830 for a single person, and nearly twice the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
A single worker with two young children needs an annual income of $57,756, or just over $27 an hour, to attain economic stability, and a family with two working parents and two young children needs to earn $67,920 a year, or about $16 an hour per worker.
Of these tens of thousands of new jobs that will be added to the economy when McDonald’s hires in two weeks, few will offer a wage that will allow a single person to be economically secure. And not even one of the jobs proposed would allow a parent to raise two children on its salary.
Jim Skinner, the CEO of McDonalds, earned $11.5 million in bonuses last year for keeping costs low and profits high. That’s the equivalent of hiring nearly 670 fulltime workers at $8.30 an hour.
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