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McDonald's turns to seniors to fill 250,000 summer jobs

In this image, a man sits at a counter at a McCafe. In the foreground, a touch-screen stands upright for customers to order electronically.
A McDonald's in Lisbon's airport. Photo: Horacio Villalobos-Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Market watchers will get their first look at the new high-tech McDonald's, fresh off its recent acquisitions of Dynamic Yield and Plexure, as it rolls out its earnings on Monday.

What's new: For its next major push, the company announced Wednesday it plans to hire the elderly to fill summer jobs. USA Today's Charisse Jones writes: "If you're looking for a gig in your golden years, you might want to check under the Golden Arches."

  • "The fast-food giant will post positions on AARP's online job board as it tries to fill roughly 250,000 jobs over the summer. McDonald's is also working with the AARP Foundation to launch a pilot program in five states that will help match lower-income older Americans with potential jobs."

Why now? The share of teens aged 16–19 who work summer jobs has fallen significantly since the turn of the century. Despite some recovery since the end of the Great Recession, a just 35% had a summer job in 2017, compared to more than half of teens who had one in 2000 and 58% in 1978, according to Pew Research.

  • That trend is moving in exactly the opposite direction for older workers whose labor force participation rate is expected to keep rising, with the fastest pickup happening in the oldest segments of the population, those 65 to 74 and 75 and older, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says.

What they're saying: Teenagers are nice, but "they're in school, or aren't always excited about working that 5 a.m. shift," Melissa Kersey, chief people officer for McDonald’s USA tells USA Today. "So we believe matching this mature workforce with the breakfast and lunch shift ... is really important."

Go deeper: In the coming decades, seniors around the world will work long past 65