Business Highlights: Smaller CEO raises, tougher automatic-braking standards

The top stories in the business world for the day.

The average worker would need to work for two lifetimes before they could earn their annual salary

After years of explosive growth, the CEO pay is now slowing down. According to Equilar, the typical compensation package of chief executives running S&P 500 firms rose only 0.9% to a median $14.8 million last year. This was the lowest increase since 2015. This is unlikely to stop the criticisms that CEO salaries are too high, and that there's a widening gap between bosses of companies and their workers. The median salary for employees at the companies surveyed by AP was $77.178, an increase of 1.3%. It would take 186 years for a worker to earn what a CEO earning the median salary earned last year.

The median pay for women at the top of S&P 500 companies is shrinking.

NEW YORK, NY (AP) - The pay of women running companies in the S&P500 was mixed last year. More than half saw their compensation increase while the median package dropped 6%. Only 20 of the 343 CEOs surveyed by the AP & Equilar for the compensation survey at S&P 500 firms were women. The small number of women in the group can cause changes to be distorted by a few. This drop follows a 26% increase in the pay of female CEOs, which occurred in 2021. That year, pay packages were reflected in a booming economy as well as soaring profits and stock prices.

US safety agency will require automatic emergency brakes on new cars and set stricter standards

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - The U.S. auto safety agency will require all new cars and light trucks to include automatic emergency braking that could save lives and to meet stricter standards of safety within three years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced its latest step in regulating electronic systems which perform tasks normally performed by drivers. NHTSA was reluctant to implement regulations in the past, claiming that technology would change while it took to adopt new rules. According to the chief counsel of NHTSA, 90% of all new passenger cars already have brake technology. She says NHTSA is working to improve the brake systems' effectiveness at higher speeds, and their ability to avoid pedestrians.

The changes to the food aid bill will cost money and not save as much as Republicans hoped

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - A Republican effort to increase work requirements for federal aid in food debt legislation that is moving through Congress will increase federal spending by $2.1billion over 10 years. This is far from what GOP lawmakers had in mind. The compromise reached between House Republicans, President Joe Biden and the government as we near a catastrophic default has backfired on GOP lawmakers. They won new work requirements under the Supplemental Nutrition Program for some recipients who are able-bodied in exchange for dropping the work requirements for more vulnerable recipients like veterans and the homeless.

Biden and McCarthy are both confident that the House vote on debt ceiling will pass to avoid default.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - The debt ceiling package and budget cuts are heading to the House after overcoming a critical hurdle on Wednesday. Joe Biden said he was confident that the deal negotiated by him and Speaker Kevin McCarthy will pass in the evening. They worked to build a coalition of Democrats and Republicans who are centrist to ensure that the deal is approved despite opposition from conservatives and progressives. If Congress does not act, the U.S. could face a disastrous default in less that a week. McCarthy says he will have the votes, despite hard-right Republicans' disappointment that the budget cuts are not enough. McCarthy calls it a "small step" toward reducing the debt burden of the country. Bipartisan support helped the package overcome a critical procedural hurdle this afternoon.

US and Europe work on voluntary AI code as calls for regulation grow

LONDON, England (AP) - The United States and Europe will be drafting a voluntary code for artificial intelligence in the coming weeks. The voluntary code will bridge the gap until the 27-nation EU has drafted groundbreaking artificial intelligence rules that are not expected to take effect for three years. According to a senior EU official, who spoke after the EU-U.S. Trade and Technology Council meeting in Sweden on Wednesday. ChatGPT, for example, has astonished users with its ability to mimic human responses. However it also stirred fears over the potential risks. This has sparked a worldwide debate on how to create guardrails around the technology.

US job openings reach 10.1 million, and the labor market is still strong despite Fed attempts to cool down the economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - U.S. employment openings unexpectedly rose in April. This is a sign that the American labor market remains remarkably resilient as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to combat inflation. Last month, employers posted 10.1 millions job openings. This is up from 9.7 in March. It's the highest number since January. Economists expected that vacancies would drop below 9.5 millions. Last month, layoffs decreased but the number people quitting their job -- a sign that they are confident about finding better pay or conditions elsewhere -- dropped.

Stock market today - Wall Street slips, as stocks worldwide slump

NEW YORK, NY (AP) - Wall Street slid as stocks fell worldwide due to concerns about inflation and the strength of global economies. S&P 500 dropped 0.6% on Wednesday. The Nasdaq Composite fell by a similar amount and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.4%. The markets in Asia dropped even further after disappointing data about manufacturing in China. The economic data in the U.S. were mixed. The Federal Reserve is expected to increase interest rates in two weeks after a strong report on the employment market. A later speech from a Fed official eased these concerns. The S&P 500 finished May with a small gain.

The S&P500 fell 25.69 points or 0.6% to 4,179.83. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 134.51 or 0.4% to 32,908.27. The Nasdaq Composite ended the day down 82.14 or 0.6% at 12,935.29. Russell 2000, an index of smaller companies, fell 17.64 points or 1% to 1,749.65.