Tag Archives: inflation

President outlines rule changes, says more workers deserve overtime pay

President Barack Obama on June 30 said the Department of Labor will propose extending overtime pay to nearly 5 million workers.

The White House, in a fact sheet released on June 30, said the proposal would guarantee overtime pay to most salaried workers earning less than an estimated $50,440 next year.

The salary threshold guarantees overtime for most salaried workers who fall below it, but it is eroded by inflation every year and has only been updated once since the 1970s.

The current threshold is $23,660 — $455 per week — which is below the poverty threshold for a family of four and only 8 percent of full-time salaried workers fall below the threshold.

The White House said the president directed the secretary of labor to update regulations relating to who qualifies for overtime pay to again reflect the intent of the Fair Labor Standards Act and to simplify the rules so they’re easier for workers and businesses to understand and apply.

The Labor Department’s proposal involves:

• Raising the threshold under which most salaried workers are guaranteed overtime to equal the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers. This would raise the salary threshold from $455 a week to a projected level of $970 a week or $50,440 a year in 2016.

• Extend overtime pay and the minimum wage to nearly 5 million workers within the first year of its implementation, of which 56 percent are women and 53 percent have at least a college degree.

• Provide greater clarity for millions more workers so they — and their employers — can determine more easily if they should be receiving overtime pay.

• Prevent a future erosion of overtime and ensure greater predictability by automatically updating the salary threshold based on inflation or wage growth over time.

The proposal does not include specific regulatory changes to the so-called “duties test” that determines whether salaried workers earning more than the threshold are entitled to an exemption from overtime rules.

Hourly workers would generally continue to receive overtime pay, as they do under current rules.

Consistent with the normal rulemaking process, when the Labor Department’s notice is published, there will be a comment period.

Reaction to the announcement …

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wisconsin, said, “I applaud the president for lifting wages for nearly 5 million hard working Americans. Far too many people these days are working more hours for less pay and struggling to make ends meet. The President’s proposed overtime rule will level playing field for employees — providing them with appropriate compensation for their hard work.”

U.S. Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison, co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a joint statement, “We applaud President Obama for standing with American families who deserve fair pay for their hard work. People all over the country are working longer hours, but their paychecks continue to come up short. The Progressive Caucus believes that in the richest nation on earth, no one working overtime should worry about making ends meet. This new overtime rule is a powerful step towards that goal, helping nearly 5 million Americans feed their families, pay their rent, or clothe their children. We look forward to working with President Obama to continue putting more money in the pockets of America’s working families.” 

Editor’s note: This story will be updated.

‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ will set you back $116,273

The cost of six geese-a-laying spiked considerably this year, while most of the items in the carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” saw little to no increase, according to the 31st annual PNC Wealth Management Christmas Price Index.

A set of gifts in each verse of the song would set you back $27,673 in stores, an increase of less than $300 — or 1 percent — from last year.

But shoppers turning to the Internet would see a bigger bump of about 8 percent over last year’s online prices, bringing the set of gifts in each verse to $42,959.

Buyers looking to purchase all the items each time they were mentioned in the song — 364 that is — would spend $116,273, a modest 1.4 percent increase from a year ago.

PNC’s sources for the Christmas Price Index include retailers, the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia-based PHILADANCO and the Pennsylvania Ballet Company.

Here is a look at the full set of prices from PNC Wealth Management:

– Partridge, $20; last year: $15

– Pear tree, $188; last year: $184

– Two turtle doves, $125; last year: same

– Three French hens, $181; last year: $165

– Four calling birds (canaries), $600; last year: same

– Five gold rings, $750; last year: same

– Six geese-a-laying, $360; last year: $210

– Seven swans a-swimming, $7,000; last year: same

– Eight maids a-milking, $58; last year: same

– Nine ladies dancing (per performance), $7,553; last year: same

– 10 lords a-leaping (per performance), $5,348; last year: $5,243

– 11 pipers piping (per performance), $2,635; last year: same

– 12 drummers drumming (per performance), $2,855; last year: same

On the Web…


‘12 Days of Christmas’ items top $114K

The price of lords-a-leaping and ladies dancing has spiked this holiday season, but other items mentioned in the carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas” still cost the same as they did last year.

Buying one set of the gifts mentioned in each verse costs $27,393 in stores, or 7.7 percent more than last year, according to the so-called Christmas Price Index that PNC Wealth Management updates annually. And if you buy all 364 items repeated throughout the carol, you’ll pay $114,651 — 6.9 percent more than last year.

Last-minute shoppers who turn to the Internet will pay even more for all the gifts — about $173,000.

“We were surprised to see such a large increase from a year ago, given the overall benign inflation rate in the U.S.,” said Jim Dunigan, managing executive of investments for PNC.

The federal government’s core Consumer Price Index rose only 1.7 percent this year.

In the three decades since the list was started in 1984, year-over-year increases have averaged 2.9 percent, which is the same number as broader U.S. inflation. But it’s a fickle list because the price of some items has barely budged, while others have soared.

Seven swans cost $7,000 this year, the same as in 1984, while the cost of a single partridge went from $12.57 to $15 during the same period. One pear tree to put that partridge in? Thirty years ago it cost $19.95, but will now set you back $184.

The cost of nine ladies dancing is now $7,553, or 20 percent more than last year’s $6,294, while 10 lords-a-leaping jumped 10 percent, to $5,243.

Seven items on the list cost the same as they did last year, including gold rings and turtle doves, while pipers piping, drummers drumming, and the pear tree showed only modest changes up or down.

The swans are the most expensive item at $1,000 each. The eight maids-a-milking still cost a total of just $58 because the federal minimum wage hasn’t risen. At $7.25 each, they’re the least expensive gifts in the song.

PNC Financial Services Group Inc. checks jewelry stores, dance companies, pet stores and other sources to compile the list. Among its sources this year were the National Aviary in Pittsburgh and the Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Ballet Company.