The line outside the McDonalds on Bayshore Boulevard in San Francisco started forming at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday when Eve Smith pulled out her portable chair and started hoping.
Job prospects filled out forms and wasted no time in getting interviewed by Bay Area McDonald's management for jobs. These tough economic times make work appealing. The jobs are entry level, minimum wage, on the crew, and in management. The job seekers were of all ages, coming for all reasons.
"To pay for my college tuition. I could start today. I'm serious," said San Bruno resident Keiyoni Barrett.
"I can be productive in my senior year of high school and I need to get a little more independent," said San Francisco resident De'Vaughn Silas.
"The response we've had today for hiring day here in San Francisco has been nothing short of overwhelming," said McDonald's restaurant owner Scott Rodrick.
Rodrick says he has ketchup in his veins. He started at McDonald's when he was 15 and now he owns 10 of them in San Francisco. Jobs pays $8 to $10 an hour, depending on minimum wage. You won't get rich here, but he says a "McJob" means opportunity.
"We're redefining that word. I'm proud of my McJob. Fifty percent of McDonald's restaurant owners started as minimum wage employees," said Rodrick.
Perhaps this demand should not come as a real surprise; national statistics from 2009 show the unemployment rate for those with less than a high school diploma is more than 14 percent, about twice the national average and three times what it is for a college graduate with a bachelor's degree. One man at the EDD office on Turk Street says he likes jobs at events in the city and a McDonald's job wouldn't fit his lifestyle.
Getting people off the unemployment rolls paints a better economic picture and the government put a favorable spin on it.
"They're starting to invest, get the money off the sidelines. I think that is why you saw McDonald's and some other companies announcing that the doors are opening," said President Obama's chief economist Austan Goolsbee.
But not so fast. A San Francisco State University labor economics professor, Don Mar, Ph.D., believes McDonald's opportunities don't mean we're out of an economic slump.
"This thing with McDonald's, I think it is quite the harbinger of good times that one might expect because there is a lot of uncertainty in the markets," said Mar.
So has this worked? A McDonald's paycheck could mean a difference for some families.
"There is no dishonor in a McJob," said Rodrick.
"I have five kids, I have two sets of twins and a 10-year-old and I'm just trying to take care of them and keep them off the streets and out of trouble," said job seeker Daniel King.
The national president of the company said that she started with the company more than 30 years ago frying potatoes, now she's the chief executive.
Rodrick said while this day is getting a lot of attention, they are hiring people every day of the year.