The Economist magazine publishes a measure that may demystify the opaque world of foreign exchange. It looks at the price of an item that's...

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The Economist magazine publishes a measure that may demystify the opaque world of foreign exchange. It looks at the price of an item that’s available — and roughly the same — almost everywhere in the world: the Big Mac.

Prices for the two all-beef patties should be similar no matter the location, as long as the countries have similar levels of income. According to the latest survey, a Big Mac costs nearly 50 percent more in the euro zone than in New York, Chicago, Atlanta and San Francisco.

Minimum boost

The federal minimum wage rose 70 cents, or 12 percent, Thursday to $6.55 an hour, helping workers to keep up with inflation.

The move, though, will likely have little effect on average income growth, says JPMorgan economist Michael Feroli. Only 2.3 percent of American hourly workers are paid at or below the federal minimum wage, he says.

That’s because 23 states — including Washington — and the District of Columbia have minimum wages above even the new federal standard, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Three states are below the federal level, while five have no minimum wage law.

Say on pay

Investors are — slowly — getting more interested in oversight of executive pay, according to the Corporate Library.

So far in 2008, shareholders have gotten 76 “say on pay” proposals up for a vote, from 53 in 2007 and just five in 2006. Such proposals give shareholders the opportunity to vote on pay packages each year in a nonbinding resolution. So far in 2008, 42 percent of shareholders have voted in favor of “say on pay” proposals, up slightly from 41 percent in 2007.

The Associated Press