Business Briefs – September 12, 2018

Egypt Raises Tariffs Up to 60 Percent for Imported Goods

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s president has imposed an increase of tariffs on hundreds of imported products, the second time in less than three years.

The official Gazette published President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s decree on Wednesday with a long list of over 5,791 items, 23 percent of which include machinery and equipment imported by tourist establishments, fruit juices and baby formula, and have a tariff range from 20 to 60 percent.

The measures came as Egypt, which relies heavily on imports, embarked on a reform program shortly after el-Sissi took office in 2014. The government has slashed subsidies, imposed a value-added tax and allowed a currency devaluation in order to qualify for a $12 billion bailout loan from the IMF.

U.S. Household Incomes Grew in 2017, Yet Inequality Worsens

WASHINGTON (AP) — The income of a median U.S. household rose for a third straight year in 2017 as solid economic growth helped put more people into full-time jobs. But income inequality also worsened as the wealthiest Americans enjoyed even larger pay increases.

Incomes for a typical U.S. household, adjusted for inflation, rose 1.8 percent, from $60,309 in 2016 to $61,372. The proportion of Americans living in poverty also dropped for the third straight year, to 12.3 percent from 12.7 percent.

The figures suggest that the nation’s very low unemployment rate — 3.9 percent — is forcing businesses to convert more part-time workers to full-time status. Companies are hiring more people who previously weren’t looking for work. During 2017, the unemployment rate averaged 4.4 percent, the lowest level in 17 years.

The number of people with jobs rose by 1.7 million in 2017, the Census report said. And the number of workers with full-time permanent jobs increased by 2.4 million.