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McDonald’s breakfast as eggonomic indicator

AP Photo / Mark Lennihan
The heartbeat of America, as long as you don’t eat too much of it.
By Matt Phillips
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Sure, you can look at initial jobless claims, trends in temporary hiring or unemployment rates for a read on the labor markets.

But we like breakfast. Not only as a meal, but as an anecdotal read on the state of the hustling, harried American worker.

As we’ve told you before, McDonald’s executives have stated that strength in breakfast sales tends to reflect economic resilience. “If the economy does improve, breakfast is one of those dayparts— breakfast or late night—are the kind of dayparts where we typically will see it first,” McDonald’s CEO Donald Thompson told a conference audience.

If that’s true, today’s monthly McDonald’s sales update—following on Friday’s solid jobs report—suggests that through May the US economy was doing just fine. “During May, U.S. comparable sales rose 2.4% led by breakfast,” the company reported. So the next time you spot a mid-morning line at the drive-thru, feel free to cheer on the recovering economy.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

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