Homelessness and Fast Food Work

The Lempert Report
May 09, 2023

Talking about food. A new report just came out from the economic round table, in California where they found that being employed in the fast food industry is the surest way to end up in poverty as a low wage earner and become homeless. It's amazing to me that when I read this, it's something that I never really thought about. But again, on average, when you take a look at fast food, there's 3.3 million fast food and counter workers in the US. Their average hourly wage is $13 and 53 cents. That works out to a little over $28,000 a year, assuming a 40 hour work week. And that's where the whole thing falls down because so many of these workers don't get 40 hours worth of work, and that's why it leads to homelessness. 

Sally: Yes, yes. And we're hearing, from this report that fast food workers represent one in 17 of the homeless people in California. And Phil, I was just in your state this weekend and saw the situation of the homeless there. And it is very sad to see. And California has the top minimum wage at $15.50 an hour, set in in the country, I believe, are one of the top ones. And so it is very disheartening to hear that this segment of workers is still struggling so much to put a roof over their heads. 

Phil: And CBS news who reported on this also points out that while fast food workers struggle to make their ends meet, the companies employing them are doing fine. McDonald's raked in 1.9 million in profit during the fourth quarter of 2022. So it's not for the year 1.9 million in one quarter. And Chick-Fil-A recorded 18.8 billion in system sales in 2022, up nearly 13% from the previous year. And as we've talked about in our trends report, just a couple months ago, one of the things that our number one concern is employment. when we take a look at employment, we take a look at wages. This is a major issue that is not gonna go away and really needs to be addressed. It's not about, buying robots to really replace these workers. We have a very serious problem as it relates to workers and minimum wage, and frankly, very high corporate profits higher than we've ever seen before. So we need to have this balance taking place.