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Wage growth surges, just in time for the Trump presidency

THE news that average wages grew by 2.9% in December, the final full month of the Obama presidency, provides more evidence that America’s labour market is heating up. For some time, America has been creating plentiful jobs—2016 was the fifth consecutive year with more than 2m job gains. But wage growth has been weak enough to cast doubt on the labour market’s strength. A commonly cited reason for paltry pay rises was the number of 25- to 54-year-olds—dubbed “prime age” workers—who had stopped looking for work after the recession, and hence were no longer counted as unemployed. Wages, the argument went, would not pick up until they were encouraged back to work.

With the average pay-cheque now growing faster than at any time since 2009—when layoffs of low-paid workers were artificially boosting average wagesContinue reading Click Here For Original Source Of The Article

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Two big European makers of eyewear agree to merge

GIANT, cross-border mergers in Europe have been rare in recent years. Deals fail to happen even when mid-sized companies—such as family-owned and run specialist manufacturers in northern Italy or the Mittelstand in Germany—have the chance to gain global heft. For that blame founding owner-managers, many of whom are reluctant to lose control of treasured companies. Blame too an artisanal culture, particularly in southern Europe, in which firms’ owners say they are content to remain small and relatively obscure. Occasionally, too, nationalist politicians block efforts by perfidious foreigners to snaffle prized local brands.

Now, though, one of the largest-ever mergers in Europe actually looks set to go ahead. Luxottica, an Italian maker of fancy specs that was founded in 1961—it owns brands such as Ray Ban and Oakley—is to merge with Essilor, a spiffy French producer of lenses. The joint entity is set to combine Italian style with deft French engineering. The deal is supposed to be completed by the end of the year, creating a new entity with a market value of €46bn ($49bn), 140,000 staff and annual revenues of €15bn. It will be...Continue reading

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