ABC’s Newest Economic Indicator: The Big Mac

It isn't home foreclosures, high gas prices or even the stock market being used to show the economy is heading for hell in a hand basket.

No, this time the culprit is "two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun," otherwise known as the Big Mac. And ABC's Bianna Golodryga asks, "If Americans are saying goodbye to fast food, could we be saying hello to a recession?"

"According to the latest figures, America may no longer be the ‘fast food nation' that it once was," Golodryga said on the January 29 "Good Morning America." "And, it has nothing to do with going on a health diet, but everything to do with going on a spending diet."

McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) announced lower sales for December in U.S. stores on January 28, although the company reported a $1.27-billion profit for the fourth quarter of 2007. And though McDonald's didn't blame the lower sales completely on the economy, adding the weather and energy costs were also contributing factors, Golodryga managed to show "shock" that something like fast food could show a decline.

"While the jingle may say so, Americans don't seem to be ‘lovin'' McDonald's these days," Golodryga said. "The world's largest restaurant chain reported its worst monthly result in almost five years - saying December sales were flat. Pretty shocking considering the fact that every day one-quarter of the U.S. population eats fast food, gobbling up $120 billion of the stuff each year. That's 35 million pounds of fat from Big Macs alone."