The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Alan Barber, (202) 293-5380 x115

Slow Progress for Fast Food Workers


Fast food workers are often thought of as high school kids working to make some extra spending money. And now that workers in the industry have gone on strike in several U.S. cities, some are using that image as a reason to argue against higher wages for the people who work in fast food. But a close look at the numbers by CEPR researchers John Schmitt and Janelle Jones paints a much different picture.

Looking at the most recent data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), Schmitt and Jones reveal that less than a third of fast food workers are teenagers. Over 70 percent have a high school degree and 30 percent of these workers have some college education. More than a quarter of workers in this industry have a child. But despite their age and education, their wages are low, with most fast food workers making between $7.25 (the current federal minimum wage) and $10.10 an hour.

Schmitt and Jones go into more detail in "Slow Progress for Fast Food Workers."

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives. In order for citizens to effectively exercise their voices in a democracy, they should be informed about the problems and choices that they face. CEPR is committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options.

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