The U.S. unemployment statistics have been highlighted as being misleading by many astute economists who have pointed out low paid part time wage earners are considered employed. Another perspective in dealing with the misleading nature of America's employment statistics is that many employed workers, particularly in the fast food industry, are in poverty. The Los Angeles Times reported on Oct. 15, 2013, "More than half of U.S. fast food workers on public aid, report says."
According to a new report distributed by a group that has been pushing hard for union representation and higher wages for fast food workers, greater than half of families of fast food workers receive some sort of public assistance. This costs the nation $7 billion a year. According to the report written by economists at UC Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, fast food workers earn an average of $8.69 an hour, and they often work fewer than 40 hours a week. This leaves them qualified for food stamps, Medicaid and tax credits.
Time magazine has reported, "Fast-Food Workers Are Costing the U.S. $7 Billion a Year in Public Aid." Although fast food itself may be cheap, there is a huge hidden cost associated with fast food workers in the form of taxpayer funded safety net programs to effectively subsidize fast food workers’ low wages. It therefore appears the tragic situation in dealing with economic problems in the U.S.A. is far more serious for many people than meets the eye on the surface.