The image of the wholesome teenage hamburger-flipper might not be history — it might be myth.
Hundreds of fast-food workers descended on McDonald’s headquarters this week to make the case that the chain’s labor force is no longer dominated by teenagers looking for a little pocket change.
A weak labor market, the story goes, has sent adults desperate for work into fast food jobs, pushing the median age of burger-flippers to 27.
Yet fast-food workers have long been older than “American Graffiti” or “Grease” might suggest.
Since 2000, the median age of fast-food workers has fluctuated between about 26 and 35. And it’s been trending downward since 2010, to 27.6 years in 2013, according to unpublished Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Industry-wide, about 18 percent of workers are teenagers.
At McDonald’s, about one-third are teenagers, executives say.