Fast Food, Poverty Wages: The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Fast-Food Industry
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley released a new report Tuesday that shows low-wage fast-food jobs cost Americans nearly $7 billion every year. Pay in fast food is so low that more than half of the families of front-line fast food workers need to rely on public assistance programs—that’s more than twice the rate of the workforce overall.
Low wages paid by fast-food companies cost Americans nearly $7 billion annually—that's more than the entire budget of the Centers for Disease Control and enough to hire 124,000 teachers.
* Fast-food jobs pay so little that 52 percent of the families of front-line fast food workers need to rely on public assistance programs, costing taxpayers nearly $7 billion a year.
* Compared to the overall economy, fast-food jobs aretwice as likely as other jobs to pay so little that workers are forced to rely on public assistance (52% versus 25%).
* Full-time jobs in the corporate fast-food industry do not pay enough for workers to get by. Even at 40 hours a week, more than half of front-line fast-food workers are forced to rely on public assistance to cover basic needs like food, rent and healthcare.
* The states in which low-paying fast-food jobs cost taxpayers the most include California at $717 million; New York at $708 million; Texas at $556 million; Illinois at $368 million; and Florida at $348 million.
* 67% of core front-line fast-food workers are adults 20 and older, and 68% are the main earners in their families. More than one-quarter are raising children.
A companion report by the National Employment Law Project titled How Low Wages at Top Fast-Food Chains Leave Taxpayers Footing the Bills shows how much low-wage jobs cost the public at each of the 10 top fast food corporations. McDonald’s topped the list, to the tune of $1.2 billion per year.