An Obama administration official says the White House is proposing a 0.5 percent raise for civilian federal employees in its 2013 budget. If Congress approves the measure, it would mark the first pay increase for federal workers since the two-year freeze President Barack Obama ordered in 2010. Republican lawmakers have suggested extending the freeze for federal workers as one way to pay for a full-year extension of payroll tax cuts.
European retailers feel job squeeze
Retail sales in the 17 nations that use the euro slipped in November, with shoppers rattled both by looming austerity measures and a currency that is hitting 16-month lows against the dollar. With consumers pinching their euros, retail sales fell 0.8 percent in November, compared with October, and were down 2.5 percent from November 2010, according to Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency.
Asian countries want Iranian oil
China, the biggest buyer of Iran’s oil, has publicly rejected U.S. sanctions aimed at Tehran’s energy industry while American allies Japan and South Korea are scrambling to find a compromise to keep critical supplies flowing. Sanctions approved by President Barack Obama have led to a clash of interests between Washington and key commercial and strategic partners over efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear program. China’s foreign ministry called for negotiations on Iran. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is due to visit Beijing and Tokyo next week for talks that officials say will include the sanctions.
Oil prices fall on European concerns
Oil prices are falling as concerns about Europe outweigh positive U.S. employment numbers. Benchmark crude fell by 53 cents to $101.31 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price foreign oil varieties that are imported by American refineries, lost 24 cents at $112.50 per barrel in London. Prices dropped as traders focused on European economic reports that showed weaker factory orders in Germany and soft European retail sales elsewhere in November.
Nevada’s top casinos lost $4 billion in 2011
Nevada’s largest casinos suffered a combined $4 billion loss in 2011. A report released Friday by the state Gaming Control Board shows 256 casinos grossed $1 million or more in gambling revenue for the fiscal year that ended June 30. Combined, they had total revenue of $22 billion and posted a net loss of $3.9 billion from the previous year. In 2010, the largest casinos had a net loss of $3.4 billion on total revenues of almost $20.9 billion. Total revenue includes money spent by patrons on gambling, rooms, food, beverages and attractions. The report says revenue from gamblers accounted for nearly $10.2 billion, or 46 percent, of total revenue.