Golden archway to jobs in tough US market
They are the golden arches that stretch across the globe – from London to Brussels to Moscow. Millions flock to McDonald’s in search of French fries, Big Macs, and Happy Meals. Some also come in search of a career.
Europeans, when asked about working at McDonald’s, say “it’s just the worst opportunity about a job ever.”
“If I was in dire straits I might go to McDonald’s, but the entire time I was there I would be looking for something else. No offense to McDonald’s workers,” says one passerby in London.
Meanwhile, just across the Atlantic, there is the same aroma, but a much greater sense of appreciation.
Eric Warrior, a McDonald’s Manager in New York shares his opinion about working for Ronald McDonald: "It's great working here. I was able to go from a grill person to a restaurant manager. The benefits? Ongoing benefits, working with people day in and day out.”
In the US, where nearly 14 million people are unemployed, a career at McDonald’s has become appealing. In April, the company launched its first ever national hiring day. Nearly one million Americans applied for a job at the fast food chain. Yet only six out of every 100 applicants were hired.
Still, McDonald’s created 62,000 new minimum wage jobs in one day.
But over the past seven weeks, more than 400,000 Americans filed new claims for unemployment. This, as 45 million Americans are reportedly receiving food stamps.
Les Leopold, economist and author of “The Looting of America”, says Washington is ignoring a ticking time bomb.
“We have the richest country on Earth that can’t put its own people to work. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. By far, the greatest threat to the American people,” says Leopold.
In the wake of Osama Bin Laden's assassination, US President Barack Obama said terrorism continues to be the biggest threat against Americans.
"There’s no doubt that Al-Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us," said Obama.
In the meantime, the US has become a country where some 44 million Americans do not have health insurance, a reported one of seven children is homeless and a double-war bill tops US$1.2 trillion.
Meanwhile, the richest 400 Americans hold more wealth than the entire bottom 50 per cent combined.
“Two unfunded wars and tax cuts for the super rich. They’ve lost their focus. They no longer have their eye on the prize, which is: you have to put the American people back to work,” says Leopold.
Back to work in what is being dubbed a McJobs US recovery, where a nationwide recruitment drive by a low-wage employer still sends 94 per cent of applicants back to the golden arch queue.