AUSTIN, Texas — The United States has the world’s largest fast food industry, according to a new report released Thursday.
The report by The Economist and the Washington Post estimated the industry had grossed $1.9 trillion in 2016 and generated $3.1 trillion in economic output, with more than half of the value coming from overseas.
Fast food is a staple of American diets.
In a separate report, the National Retail Federation, which represents more than 1,300 retail chains, said sales of fast food were up by more than 12% in 2016 compared to 2015.
But even with the boom, the fast food sector is still a shrinking pie, with a total of $3 billion in retail sales in 2016.
And despite the boom in demand, the number of fast-food jobs is still below its historical peak, the report found.
“The industry remains a shrinking and increasingly vulnerable slice of the American economy, especially for low- and middle-income Americans,” said Dan Gross, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association.
“The growth of fast casuals and the shift from eating out to ordering food have been a major factor behind this downturn.”
In 2016, only 4.2% of workers in the fast-casual sector worked in the United States.
That was down from 5.9% in 2000, and 6.4% in 2007.
Nearly half of fast workers are women, the study found.
Women are more likely to work in fast-service restaurants than in other sectors.
In addition, while the number, and share of fast restaurant workers, grew, the share of the total population who was fast-nosed dropped from 23.6% in 1996 to 17.6 percent in 2016, according the report.
A recent report from the Pew Research Center found that the fast casual segment of the population has grown by 5.5% in the past decade, and by an even larger 15% in just two years.
That means that the percentage of Americans who were fast-nosers increased by 7.6 percentage points from 2016 to 2020, according a study by the Pew study.
The study also found that while the fast service industry is responsible for more than 30% of the nation’s economic output in 2016 (a figure that is growing faster than fast food production), the fast chain sector accounts for just 6% of that.
This is despite the fact that fast food is more than 50% of America’s total economy and contributes nearly $50 billion in annual sales.
Fast food jobs, the authors note, are largely held by low-wage workers, including restaurant workers and home health aides.
One in four Americans, including 29% of low-income adults, is now unemployed, according an Economic Policy Institute analysis of Census data.
Nearly three-quarters of workers with college degrees are working in the food service sector, according research by the Economic Policy Center.
In a recent analysis, the Economic Research Service estimated that by 2040, more than 7.7 million people would be working in fast food jobs in the U.S., a number that would be more than double the number working in retail.
That same year, more people were employed in the retail sector than in the service sector.
While the fast industry is growing, the size of the sector is shrinking.
According to the Economic Times, the United Kingdom’s fast food and convenience store industry is expected to reach $4.7 trillion by 2025, or roughly 15% of GDP.
By 2020, the sector could surpass the $10 trillion market share that McDonald’s has held in the global fast food market, according The Economist.
More: The United Kingdom has the fastest-growing fast-fast food sector in Europe, according new study.