PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (AP) — Congress passed a bill this week to freeze American Samoa's minimum wage, responding to employer concerns and a government financial report that suggest automatic increases were harming the U.S. territory's economy.

The U.S. territory's minimum pay was set to increase by 50 cents in September, but that now stands to be delayed until 2015.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 provided for annual 50-cents per hour increases until the rate matched the rest of the United States, where the minimum pay is $7.25 per hour. Increases for 2010 and 2011 were previously delayed by another federal law. The last increase went into effect in 2009, the day after a tsunami killed 34 people in the territory and the same day a tuna cannery shut down.

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