Sandwich Artists Local 173

On one hand, it’s undeniable that the same processes of rationalization that increase efficiency and lower costs of assembly-line manufacturing are a significant part of the fast-food story. On the other hand, I can’t really bring myself to take this very seriously:

Is cooking a hamburger patty and inserting the meat, lettuce and ketchup inside a bun a manufacturing job, like assembling automobiles?

That question is posed in the new Economic Report of the President, a thick annual compendium of observations and statistics on the health of the United States economy.

The latest edition, sent to Congress last week, questions whether fast-food restaurants should continue to be counted as part of the service sector or should be reclassified as manufacturers. No answers were offered.

Nor could I suppress a giggle when I read this bit (my emphasis):

But the presidential report points out that the current system for classifying jobs “is not straightforward.” The White House drew a box around the section so it would stand out among the 417 pages of statistics.

Because as we now know very well, the President is not a statistician.