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The Other Big Mac Economic Indicator

How fast can you eat a Big Mac? Wait, more importantly, how fast can you EARN it?

Big Mac
AP
Big Mac

You may not be able to beat competitive-eating champion Joey Chestnutin a hamburger-eating contest, but you may just be able to take him in burger-earning contest!

In its Prices and Earnings report, UBS bank studies how long it takes to earn a McDonald's Big Mac in various cities around the world to illustrate purchasing power, based on an average hourly wage in 14 professions.

The winning time was 12 minutes and it was a three-way tie between Chicago, Tokyo and Toronto.

London, Los Angeles and Miami came in second with 13 minutes, followed by New York and Sydney, with 14 minutes.

It takes more than two hours of work in Caracas, Jakarta and Mexico City to earn a Big Mac. Nairobi came in last place at whopping 158 minutes.

The world average is 37 minutes. Think about that the next time you scarf one down in 37 seconds!

UBS has been using the Big Mac as an indicator since 1970 but this year they added another item: the iPod.

In Zurich and New York, it takes roughly a day’s work to earn enough for an 8GB iPod nano — 9 hours to be exact.

In Mumbai, by contrast, it takes about 20 nine-hour days — basically a month’s pay — to buy a nano.

It took more than two weeks’ pay in Delhi, Manila and Nairobi.

China always wins the prize for having the cheapest Big Mac, as measured by that other Big Mac Indicatorcreated by the Economist magazine as a commentary on currency strength.

But, when it comes to purchasing power, they’re not at the bottom: It takes a half hour to earn a Big Mac in Shanghai and a week’s salary to earn enough for a nano.

OK, next question: How fast can you download a tune?!

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