McDonald's lifts wages at US restaurants
Ronald McDonald sits in front of a McDonald's (Shutterstock)

McDonald's said Thursday it will raise wages at US company-owned restaurants and hire an additional 10,000 workers, the latest corporate response to a labor crunch as the economic reopening accelerates.

Employers nationwide have reported trouble filling open positions as Covid-19 restrictions are eased, allowing businesses to resume operations, but some people still face challenges returning to work.

The fast-food chain said it plans to lift hourly wages for about 36,500 workers by an average of 10 percent, boosting the entry level range to "at least" $11 to $17 an hour, while shift managers will make "at least" $15 to $20.

"Together with our franchisees, we face a challenging hiring environment, and staying ahead means we must constantly renew our commitment to offer one of the leading employment packages in the industry," McDonald's USA President Joe Erlinger said in a message to employees.

The pay increases mean the average hourly wage at company-owned restaurants will reach $15 per hour, with some reaching this level this year, and some in 2024 under a "phased, market-by-market approach," the company said.

These moves, however, still fall short of a $15 minimum hourly wage nationwide sought by labor unions and progressive Democratic politicians like Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

McDonald's also said it plans to add 10,000 new employees at company-owned venues over the next three months, citing stronger consumer traffic as the world's largest economy reopens.

The announcement comes amid complaints from companies in tourism, hospitality and other sectors of difficulty finding workers to address rising need.

Amazon on Thursday announced plans to add 75,000 jobs in the United States and Canada, with signing bonuses of up to $1,000.

And fast-food chain Chipotle Mexican Grill said on Monday it was raising wages to an average of $15 an hour.

The McDonald's announcement does not apply to restaurants owned by franchisees. In the most recent quarter, more than half of the chain's US revenues came from franchised locations.