What's Important in the Financial World (12/31/2012)


Minimum Wage Hike

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) reports that the minimum wage will increase in 10 states as 2013 begins. These include Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. The figure will move up to about $7.50 an hour on average. As the fiscal cliff threat slows the economy, and taxes rise for many individuals, the improvement is not great enough to pull people at this level of income from near or at the poverty line. Based on NELP's math:

The state minimum wage rates will rise between 10 and 35 cents per hour, resulting in an extra $190 to $510 per year for the average directly-affected worker.

Just $150. That is all.

AMR-U.S. Air Merger

AMR has moved closer to an exit from Chapter 11 and a possible merger with U.S. Airways Group Inc. (NYSE: LCC), as pilots of the troubled company opened one more door to a deal. Even though such mergers are often disasters as the new carrier struggles with labor problems and customer service undercut by merging reservations systems and staff, U.S. Airways wants to get bigger, like Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) and United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) recently did through mergers of their own. According to The Wall Street Journal:

After three weeks of confidential negotiations overseen by AMR's creditors committee, the Allied Pilots Association board on Saturday voted 11-5 in favor of a proposed accord, the union said. Terms weren't disclosed. The proposal requires the assent of the other parties to the talks, including both carriers and US Airways' pilot union.

U.S. Population Expansion

The U.S. population has expanded at a glacierlike pace recently. The trend will continue for several years. It is too early to tell how this might affect the employment situation, or the cost burden that aging Americans will put on a workforce that is not as large as the one that existed when the baby boomers where in their prime. According to Bloomberg:

The Census Bureau estimates there will be 315.1 million people living in the country on New Year's Day, a 0.73 percent rise from last year's estimate and 2.05 percent more than the most recent census count in April 2010. At the current pace, the nation's population will grow by 7.3 percent during the decade, the lowest level since the 7.25 percent increase recorded between 1930 and 1940.

Douglas A. McIntyre

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Market Open Tagged: DAL, LCC, UAL