In Defense of the McJob: 5 Ways to Look at McDonald's Hiring Boom

McDonald's pushes for 50,000 new employees; why anyone would want these jobs.

ByABC News
April 19, 2011, 4:31 PM

April 19, 2011 -- As McDonald's makes its nationwide push to get 50,000 new employees to join its ranks, it is important to put the "McJob" in perspective.

We've all heard that the average McDonald's job doesn't pay much. And you're right – it doesn't offer compensation that is anywhere near the pay for salaried positions filled by college graduates or skilled workers.

The data we've seen is that the entry-level McJob probably pays a little more than minimum wage. The company and sites that track wages suggest that many of those workers hired today will be making around $8 an hour depending in which area of the country they live.

A full workweek at $8 an hour gets you about $320 before tax withholding. That's $16,000 a year if you take two weeks off during the year for vacation. It's above the poverty line for individuals this year ($11,136 according to the Census), but below the level for a four-person household ($22,314).

So why would anyone want these jobs? Let me make a case.

McWages Can Make A Big Difference For The Average Family – If you aren't the primary breadwinner, working part-time in a McDonald's can make a big difference to your family. Assume you work 3 days a week, adding about $800 per month to the family budget. That's almost $10,000 a year in extra cash. According to government figures, that would fully fund the family spending on food ($6,372), clothing ($1,725) and pay for 60 percent of the family healthcare spending ($1,875).