Tag Archives: recession

Rogers Media to cut 200 jobs

BY THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO — Rogers Media has told employees that the company’s workforce will be reduced by 4%, affecting 200 jobs in television, radio, publishing and administration.

The Toronto-based company says the cuts are part of efficiency efforts at Rogers Communications, one of Canada’s largest telecom companies.

A memo to Rogers Media staff says the job cuts will begin in February and will conclude as soon as possible.

Read more » Calgary Sun
See more » http://www.calgarysun.com/2016/01/25/rogers-media-to-cut-200-jobs

Pew Report: The American middle class is shrinking & standards of living are slipping. 

The American Middle Class Is Losing Ground
No longer the majority and falling behind financially

After more than four decades of serving as the nation’s economic majority, the American middle class is now matched in number by those in the economic tiers above and below it. In early 2015, 120.8 million adults were in middle-income households, compared with 121.3 million in lower- and upper-income households combined, a demographic shift that could signal a tipping point, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.1

Read more »  PewResearchCenter
See more » http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/12/09/the-american-middle-class-is-losing-ground/

Canada – Maple Leaf Foods to cut more than 400 jobs, 3% of workforce

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (MFI.TO 1.6%) said it would cut more than 400 jobs, or about 3 per cent of its work force, nearly a month after the Canadian meat packer pushed back its timeline for hitting a key profitability target.

Read more » BNN
See more » http://www.bnn.ca/News/2015/11/25/Maple-Leaf-Foods-to-cut-more-than-400-jobs-majority-to-come-before-year-end.aspx

Greek general strike: Petrol bombs and teargas during anti-austerity protest – as it happened

By 

Youths throw Molotov cocktails in Athens, as thousands protest against the ‘vicious cycle’ of austerity in Greece during the first general strike since Alexis Tsipras became PM

Read more » the guardian
See more » http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/nov/12/greek-general-strike-against-austerity-measures-business-live

Kraft Heinz to cut 2,600 jobs as it closes seven plants, including in southwestern Ontario

By National Post Wire Services

Kraft Heinz is closing a plant in southwestern Ontario and six others in the United States over the next two years as part of a downsizing that will eliminate 2,600 jobs, the newly merged food company announced Wednesday.

More than 200 employees will lose their jobs as Kraft Heinz closes its Richardson Foods plant in St. Marys, Ont.

Read more » Financial Post
See more » http://business.financialpost.com/news/economy/kraft-heinz-to-cut-2600-jobs-as-it-closes-seven-plants-including-in-southwestern-ontario

Global Middle Class Shrinking, As Report Finds Richest 1% Owns Half Of All Wealth In The World

It is official, the richest one per cent now owns half of all the wealth in the world, and unfortunately it also looks as though the global middle class is shrinking as this happens, according to a new study.

Credit Suisse recently released its annual report on global wealth, and according to the CBC, this marks the first time that the world’s richest group has amassed enough wealth to cross that line.

The report also found that from 2008 on wealth gains have been shifting away from the middle class in favour of those at higher wealth levels. This has created a decline in the middle class wealth in ‘every region since 2001 and a decline in all regions except for China for the entire 2000 – 2015 period.’

Also troubling is that 3.4 billion adults – 71 per cent of the world’s population

Read more » TEAMSTERS 362
Learn more » http://www.teamsters362.com/global-middle-class-shrinking-as-report-finds-richest-1-owns-half-of-all-wealth-in-the-world/

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International Students Find the American Dream … in Flint

By

A few months after Abhishek Y. Utekar left Mumbai, India, to start an M.B.A. program at the University of Michigan campus in Flint, his landlord gave him a driving tour of his new home. Dennis Brownfield watched out for his tenants, and he wanted Mr. Utekar to understand the dynamics of a city often defined by deindustrialization and decay. His car provided the first lesson. It was a Honda Civic with a license plate that read “GM LEFT,” a commentary on the 70,000 automotive jobs that have disappeared over the years in this birthplace of General Motors.

Read more » The New York Times
See more » http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/01/education/edlife/international-students-find-the-american-dream-in-flint.html

Bill Gates: Only Socialism Can Save the Climate, ‘The Private Sector is Inept’

By 

Bill Gates explains why the climate crisis will not be solved by the free market.

In a recent interview with The Atlantic, billionaire tech magnate Bill Gates announced his game plan to spend $2 billion of his own wealth on green energy investments, and called on his fellow private sector billionaires to help make the U.S. fossil-free by 2050. But in doing so, Gates admitted that the private sector is too selfish and inefficient to do the work on its own, and that mitigating climate change would be impossible without the help of government research and development.

“There’s no fortune to be made. Even if you have a new energy source that costs the same as today’s and emits no CO2, it will be uncertain compared with what’s tried-and-true and already operating at unbelievable scale and has gotten through all the regulatory problems,” Gates said. “Without a substantial carbon tax, there’s no incentive for innovators or plant buyers to switch.”

Gates even tacked to the left and uttered words that few other billionaire investors would dare to say: government R&D is far more effective and efficient than anything the private sector could do.

“Since World War II, U.S.-government R&D has defined the state of the art in almost every area,” Gates said. “The private sector is in general inept.”

Read more » U.S. Uncut
See more » http://usuncut.com/climate/bill-gates-only-socialism-can-save-us-from-climate-change/

Half of world’s wealth now in hands of 1% of population – report

Inequality growing globally and in the UK, which has third most ‘ultra-high net worth individuals’, household wealth study finds

By 

Global inequality is growing, with half the world’s wealth now in the hands of just 1% of the population, according to a new report.

The middle classes have been squeezed at the expense of the very rich, according to research by Credit Suisse, which also finds that for the first time, there are more individuals in the middle classes in China – 109m – than the 92m in the US.

Tidjane Thiam, the chief executive of Credit Suisse, said: “Middle class wealth has grown at a slower pace than wealth at the top end. This has reversed the pre-crisis trend which saw the share of middle-class wealth remaining fairly stable over time.”

Read more » theguardian
See more » http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/oct/13/half-world-wealth-in-hands-population-inequality-report

Yellow Pages to cut 300 jobs in corporate ‘realignment’

By JAMES BRADSHAW MEDIA REPORTER, The Globe and Mail

Yellow Pages Ltd. is cutting 300 jobs by November in a corporate “realignment” designed to make the company leaner and free up dollars to invest in its digital ventures as it continues to move away from print directories.

The company announced the layoffs, which represent about 10 per cent of its work force, on Thursday, and said they will “principally affect management positions that have been integrated within other functions or that are no longer aligned with the company’s digital operations.”

Read more » The Globe and Mail
See more » http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/yellow-pages-to-cut-300-jobs-in-corporate-realignment/article26714341/

Robert Reich on Why Capitalism Needs Saving

“The real issue is whether capitalism is organized for the benefit of the society as a whole or for the benefit of a small group,” says Reich

BY

Economic inequality is shaping up to be one of the central debates of the 2016 election: Those on the left – most notably Bernie Sanders – decry the increasing wealth and power of those at the very top of the economy, while others are left behind. Those on the right respond that this upswing in inequality, however regrettable it might be, is the natural result of free markets.
Few have looked at this issue as closely as political economist and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. In his new book, Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few, he tackles this obsession with free markets. He argues that there is no such thing as a free market, and that the basic rules of capitalism – laws surrounding property, monopoly, contract, bankruptcy and enforcement – are really driving inequality.

See more » Rolling Stone
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/robert-reich-on-why-capitalism-needs-saving-20151007
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Canada officially enters recession

By Michel Comte

Ottawa (AFP) – Reeling from low oil prices, Canada fell into a recession in the first half of the year, government data confirmed Tuesday, putting Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the defensive in the run-up to October elections.

According to Statistics Canada, the economy contracted 0.5 percent in the second quarter after retreating 0.8 percent in the previous three months.

It is Canada’s second recession in seven years and it is the only Group of Seven nation in economic retreat. The figures are the weakest since the 2008 global financial crisis.

Read more » Yahoo News
See more » http://news.yahoo.com/canada-officially-recession-first-half-2015-131114485.html

Global shares nosedive on China woes

FTSE 100 and European markets rattled by losses in China

Stock markets in London, Paris and Frankfurt have fallen sharply as fears of a Chinese economic slowdown continue to haunt investors.

London’s FTSE 100 index was down by 4% in early afternoon trade, with major markets in France and Germany down by 4.6% and 4.4% respectively.

Shares in Asia were hit overnight, with the Shanghai Composite in China closing down 8.5%, its worst close since 2007.

Global investors worry about growth in the world’s second largest economy.

China’s central bank devalued the country’s currency, the yuan, two weeks ago, raising fresh concerns that a slowdown in the country’s economy was worse than originally feared.

Currencies and commodities are also falling sharply, because those markets rely heavily on strong demand from China.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34038147

Bernie Sanders laid the smack-down on Alan Greenspan in 2003, five years before the Great Recession of 2008.

Watch Bernie Sanders tell Alan Greenspan, in 2003, that Americans are not living the way that Mr. Greenspan imagines they are. Then just 5 years later Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, admits that there is a flaw in his ideology model..

Courtesy: Bernie Sanders Via Social media (Facebook)

After Greece & China, the next domino to fall: Latin America

The next domino to fall: Latin America

Greece needs a bailout and China’s stock market is in meltdown mode. But the global economy has another rising red flag: Latin America.

  @CNNMoney

Every major Latin American economy is slowing down or shrinking. The World Bank predicts this will be Latin America’s worst year of growth since the financial crisis. As if that’s not dire enough, the world’s two worst performing stock markets are in the region as well.

And things could get even uglier later this year for Latin America, a region which is double the economic size of India.

“The weakness in Latin America is reflecting the weaker global outlook,” says Win Thin, senior economist at Brown Brothers Harriman.

The ‘most vulnerable’: After years of checkered progress, Latin America is the “most vulnerable” region to China’s sputtering economy and market meltdown, experts say. It’s become a trade battleground area between the United States and China.

China is the biggest trade partner to many Latin countries, but the U.S. has tried to reassert its presence in recent months. Still, China’s sluggish growth is pulling Latin America down with it.

“We’re expecting very, very weak growth,” says Eugenio Aleman, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities. “Brazil is in bad shape. Argentina isn’t much better. Chile has slowed down to a trickle…Peru is slowing down considerably.”

That’s just the beginning. Venezuela is arguably the world’s worst economy with sky-high inflation. Next door, Colombia has the world’s worst stock market this year. Its index is down 13% so far this year. The second worst is Peru, down 12.5%. By comparison, America’s S&P 500 is flat this year. (Argentina has the world’s best stock market, but that’s more a reflection of politics than economics).

While many are focused on Greece right now, “a deeper downturn in China remains the key external risk for Latin America,” says Neil Shearing, chief emerging market economist at Capital Economics.

The big problem: The three “C’s” are weighing down Latin America: China, commodities, and currency.

Read more » CNN
Learn more » http://money.cnn.com/2015/07/09/news/economy/warning-sign-latin-america-economy/index.html

Canadian dollar drops to lowest level since 2004

‘The downside could be enormous from here. There is no reason why it can’t fall much farther’

By Pete Evans

The Canadian dollar dropped to levels not seen since 2004 on Wednesday.

The loonie closed at 76.70 cents against the U.S. dollar, according to the Bank of Canada, down 0.53 cents. That’s lower than the 76.85 cents the loonie closed at on March 9, 2009, more than six years ago. The loonie hasn’t been this low since September 2004, almost 11 years ago, when it touched the 75 cent level.

Read more » CBC
Learn more » http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/canadian-dollar-drops-to-lowest-level-since-2004-1.3163316

The end of capitalism has begun

Without us noticing, we are entering the postcapitalist era. At the heart of further change to come is information technology, new ways of working and the sharing economy. The old ways will take a long while to disappear, but it’s time to be utopian

By 

The red flags and marching songs of Syriza during the Greek crisis, plus the expectation that the banks would be nationalised, revived briefly a 20th-century dream: the forced destruction of the market from above. For much of the 20th century this was how the left conceived the first stage of an economy beyond capitalism. The force would be applied by the working class, either at the ballot box or on the barricades. The lever would be the state. The opportunity would come through frequent episodes of economic collapse.

Instead over the past 25 years it has been the left’s project that has collapsed. The market destroyed the plan; individualism replaced collectivism and solidarity; the hugely expanded workforce of the world looks like a “proletariat”, but no longer thinks or behaves as it once did.

Continue reading The end of capitalism has begun

Canada sheds 6,400 jobs in June

Jobless rate holds steady at 6.8% as results beat economists’ expectations

By Pete Evans, CBC News

The Canadian economy lost 6,400 jobs in June as gains in full-time work were offset by losses of part-time jobs, Statistics Canada says.

The jobless rate stayed steady at 6.8 per cent, the same level it has been at since February. the data agency reported Friday.

It was a better showing than what a consensus of economists were expecting, which was a loss of about 10,000 positions.

Read more » CBC
See more » http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/canada-sheds-6-400-jobs-in-june-1.3146182

Canada is already in a recession, says Bank of America

Canada is already in a recession, says Bank of America, and the loonie is set to get hammered

By John ShmuelMore from John Shmuel | @jshmuel

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has become the first bank to call for a Canadian recession this year.

Economist Emanuella Enenajor and her team now say that Canada’s economy will shrink by 0.6 per cent in the second quarter, following a 0.6 per cent contraction in the first. The definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of contraction.

A recession sets up the Bank of Canada for another rate cut this year, said Enenajor, and she expects that the downturn will hammer the Canadian dollar — knocking it down to just under 77 cents U.S. by early 2016, the lowest level in more than a decade.

“The economy has surprised to the downside this year, and appears to have entered a recession in 1H 2015, even after policy easing in January,” she said in a note to clients.

Economists have been making a lot of bearish calls on the Canadian economy recently, following data showing that gross domestic product has shrunk for four-straight months — the first time that has happened since the 2008-09 recession.

The Bank of Canada’s rate announcement will be on July 15, and many economists have changed their forecasts to call for another 0.25 per cent cut to be announced then. Others have said the bank will wait till later this year, given the criticism it faced following a surprise cut from 1 per cent to 0.75 per cent in January.

In a closed-door speech over the weekend, bank governor Stephen Poloz compared that rate cut to life saving surgery, saying it was necessary to protect Canada from the damage done by a collapse in oil prices earlier this year. He compared any negative effects lower rates would have on household debt, already near a record level in Canada, to post-surgery side effects.

Enenajor said a rate cut to 0.50 per cent this year, combined with a recession, will have the biggest impact on Canada’s dollar. The loonie has already fallen 8 per cent year-to-date against the greenback.

“A BoC cut in October, lower oil prices in Q3 and underpriced risks of a September Fed hike are all positive USD/CAD,” she said. “We see USD/CAD rising to 1.30 in early 2016, and upside risks in 2015 given price action and the BoC’s explicit mention of C$ in May.”

Read more » Financial Post
See more » http://business.financialpost.com/investing/canada-is-already-in-a-recession-says-bank-of-america-and-the-loonie-is-set-to-get-hammered?__lsa=a5d7-2feb

Canada’s economy shrinks for fourth month, raising spectre of recession

By Gordon Isfeld

OTTAWA — Canada’s economy began the second quarter of 2015 the same way it finished the previous three-month period, continuing to contract as the collapse of oil prices squeezed output in the energy sector and the hoped-for turnaround in manufacturing again failed to materialize.

That will be discouraging news for the Bank of Canada, which has been looking for signs of a rebound in this country and in the United States after a harsh winter start to the year — greatly aggravated by the plunge in crude and an uncertain global economy.

Statistics Canada said gross domestic product — the widest measure of goods and service produced the country — declined 0.1 per cent in April. That was the fourth straight monthly contraction in the economy. The last time output declined over that many months was between November 2008 and May 2009, at the tail end of the recession.

Most economists had forecast 0.1 per cent growth in April.

Canadian GDP shrinks four months in a row

Read more » Financial Post
See more » http://business.financialpost.com/news/economy/canadas-economy-shrinks-again-raising-spectre-of-recession

Iceland Jailed Bankers and Rejected Austerity – and It’s Been a Success

Instead of imposing devastating austerity measures and bailing out its banks, Iceland let its banks go bust and focused on social welfare policies. It has now repaid 85 percent of U.K. claims, and the Icelandic finance minister announced recently that all will be settled by the end of the year.

By Roisin Davis / truthdig.com

When the global economic crisis hit in 2008, Iceland suffered terribly—perhaps more than any other country. The savings of 50,000 people were wiped out, plunging Icelanders into debt and placing 25 percent of its homeowners in mortgage default.

Now, less than a decade later, the nation’s economy is booming. And this year it will become the first culturally European country that faced collapse to beat its pre-crisis peak of economic output.

That’s because it took a different approach. Instead of imposing devastating austerity measures and bailing out its banks, Iceland let its banks go bust and focused on social welfare policies. In March, the International Monetary Fund announced that the country had achieved economic recovery “without compromising its welfare model” of universal health care and education.

Iceland allowed those responsible for the crisis—its bankers—to be prosecuted as criminals. Again, a sharp contrast to the United States and elsewhere in Europe, where CEOs escaped punishment.

“Why should we have a part of our society that is not being policed or without responsibility?” asked special prosecutor Olafur Hauksson in the wake of the collapse. “It is dangerous that someone is too big to investigate—it gives a sense there is a safe haven.”

Read more » Flim For Action
See more » http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/iceland-jailed-bankers-and-rejected-austerity-and-its-been-a-success/

The world economy – Watch out

The Economist issues an ultimate warning of another Recession

It is only a matter of time before the next recession strikes. The rich world is not ready

THE struggle has been long and arduous. But gazing across the battered economies of the rich world it is time to declare that the fight against financial chaos and deflation is won. In 2015, the IMF says, for the first time since 2007 every advanced economy will expand. Rich-world growth should exceed 2% for the first time since 2010 and America’s central bank is likely to raise its rock-bottom interest rates.

However, the global economy still faces all manner of hazards, from the Greek debt saga to China’s shaky markets. Few economies have ever gone as long as a decade without tipping into recession—America’s started growing in 2009. Sod’s law decrees that, sooner or later, policymakers will face another downturn. The danger is that, having used up their arsenal, governments and central banks will not have the ammunition to fight the next recession. Paradoxically, reducing that risk requires a willingness to keep policy looser for longer today.

Continue reading The world economy – Watch out

Elizabeth Warren on Fighting Back Against Wall St. Giants

In Oklahoma, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and her brothers grew up in “an America that invested in kids like us and helped build a future where we could flourish.” But, as she writes in her memoir, A Fighting Chance, “Today the game is rigged – rigged to work for those who have money and power… The optimism that defines us as a people has been beaten and bruised. It doesn’t have to be this way.”

Warren, a former Harvard Law School professor, is an expert on how Wall Street and the banking industry are destroying the middle class. She’s put that knowledge to powerful use on Capitol Hill, rapidly becoming the most authoritative and articulate voice of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing. Many are urging her to run for president.

Continue reading Elizabeth Warren on Fighting Back Against Wall St. Giants

Britain ‘is experiencing same decline as Rome in 100BC’

Dr Jim Penman believes Britons no longer have the genetic temperament that sparked the Industrial Revolution

By , Science Editor

Britain is experiencing the same decline as Rome in 100BC, with the collapse of civilisation inevitable, a scientist has warned.

Dr Jim Penman, of the RMIT University in Melbourne, believes Britons no longer have the genetic temperament to advance because of decades of peace and a high standard of living.

He claims that the huge success of the Victorian era will not be repeated because people in the UK have lost the biological drive for innovation.

Instead, Britain is existing in a period similar to the decades before the fall of the Roman Republic where social tensions were rife, the gap between the rich and poor was increasing and extremism was growing.

And when added to a growing distaste for military action, which has seen huge cuts the armed forces, by the end of the century the UK will no longer have the power, or will, to protect itself against a serious invading force, he predicts.

“There are certainly parallels between 100BC in the Roman Republic where things are starting to get pretty dodgy,” he said.

“It was a time when democracy was moving towards despotism, and in Britain we now see that politics is becoming much more about individuals rather than political parties. It’s about personalities. The two party system has started to break down.

“We live in a golden age where there have been no major wars in Europe for three quarters of a century. But the economy is stagnating and we’re having fewer children.

Read more » The Telegraph
See more » http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11562374/Britain-is-experiencing-same-decline-as-Rome-in-100BC.html

Tax cuts for top earners fail because the theory is broken

by Ha-Joon Chang

Tax breaks for the wealthy were meant to trickle through society to benefit all. It didn’t work and inequality just got worse, says an economist

ADVOCATES of trickle-down economics argue that, when the rich get extra income, they invest it and create more jobs – and a higher income – for others. Those people, in turn, spend their extra money. Eventually the effect trickles down the whole system, making everyone better off, in absolute terms.

So, what seems like a moral outrage – giving more to people who already have more – is in theory a socially benign action.

The trouble is it hasn’t worked. In the past three decades, states with pro-rich policies have seen economic growth slow, except in countries like China and Vietnam that needed to jump-start socialist economies.

In the UK, upward income redistribution since 1980 has seen the share of the top 1 per cent rise from 5 per cent of national income to over 10 per cent. Yet the annual growth rate of income per person has fallen from 2.5 per cent between 1960 and 1980 to 1.8 per cent between 1980 and 2013.

One reason is that the rich have not kept their end of the bargain – they didn’t invest more; and inequality, linked to poorer health and societal damage, worsened. Investment as a share of GDP used to be 18 to 22 per cent in the 1960s and 1970s but since then has been 14 to 18 per cent, except for a few years at the end of the 1980s.

Moreover, concentration of income at the top has boosted the political influence of the super-rich, allowing them to push for policies that benefit themselves but create harm in the long run. For example, the UK financial sector successfully lobbied for “light-touch regulation”, which enabled it to earn a lot but led to the 2008 financial crisis.

It is well established that a less equal society has lower social mobility. When talented people from less privileged backgrounds cannot move up the social ladder, the economy’s long-term dynamism suffers. An increasing number of studies show that, above a certain level, higher inequality harms growth. Some are by the International Monetary Fund and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which didn’t use to be concerned about inequality.

Despite these failings, some politicians still back measures that benefit the wealthy, often citing trickle-down economics. In the UK, the Conservatives cut taxes for the top earners while in government. They want to slash inheritance tax for wealthier estates and cut the numbers paying higher-rate tax. The UK Independence Party has a similar stance on higher-rate tax and wants zero inheritance tax.

The 35-year experiment with trickle down economics has failed for most people. Unfortunately, there is too much money and power at stake for its true beneficiaries to accept this reality and end this approach.

This article appeared in print under the headline “Defying gravity”

Ha-Joon Chang is an economist at the University of Cambridge. His latest book is Economics: The user’s guide (Pelican)

Courtesy: Newscientist
Read more » http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22630182.500-tax-cuts-for-top-earners-fail-because-the-theory-is-broken.html?utm_source=NSNS&utm_medium=SOC&utm_campaign=hoot&cmpid=SOC%257CNSNS%257C2015-GLOBAL-hoot#.VTwzliFVhHw

Australia – Regional unemployment hits 12-year high

By 

The unemployment rate in regional Australia has risen to 7.3 per cent, a 12-year high, as job demand shifts increasingly to major cities with the winding down of the mining construction boom.

Regional Australia has not experienced unemployment rates this high since March 2003, with regional NSW recording the largest increase in jobless rates in the past three months, particularly in the Hunter Valley and Newcastle – big coal-producing regions.

Regional Australia Institute (RAI) says analysis of this week’s Bureau of Statistics quarterly employment data shows the unemployment rate in regional Australia, in non-seasonally adjusted terms, remains structurally higher than in capital cities.

Read more » The Age
See more » http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/regional-unemployment-hits-12year-high-20150424-1msjaq.html

Australians’ living standards face the greatest threat in a generation: report

By 

Australians’ living standards face the greatest threat in a generation, with no signs of strong wage growth, longer unpaid commuting times and a rise in workforce casualisation putting more pressure on middle- and lower-income households than they have faced in 20 years.

A new report from Per Capita, an independent think tank, also shows the split of national income between labour and capital is continuing to worsen in Australia, with wages’ share of national income dropping from 65.5 per cent at the turn of the century to 59.7 per cent in 2012.

It says this has occurred at the same time as the bulk of productivity improvements have come from labour rather than capital in recent years.

The report, “Paradise Lost? The race to maintain Australian living standards”, says Australians’ living standards are under threat due to slowing productivity, rising unemployment and slowing wages growth.

It warns Australians face an “inevitable correction” in their income and wages levels – with real wages set to fall markedly to reflect the country’s changed economic circumstances and lack of reform over the last decade – if nothing is done about it.

David Hetherington, Per Capita’s director, warned Australian governments they must re-start the reform process now to arrest the worrying trends, saying the benefit of the economic reforms of the 1980s and ’90s had run their course.

“Australia must either reform once again or face a dramatic downwards adjustment in wage levels and living standards,” Mr Hetherington said.

“To continue to lift labour productivity, we must lift our investment in hard infrastructure like transport and broadband, as well as soft infrastructure like skills and education.

Courtesy: The Age
Read more » http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australians-living-standards-face-the-greatest-threat-in-a-generation-report-20150423-1mrppz.html

I am a cook in the US Senate but I still need food stamps to feed my children

By 

I work 70 hours a week doing two jobs but cannot make ends meet. Presidential hopefuls must make profitable federal contractors pay living wages

Every day, I serve food to some of the most powerful people on earth, including many of the senators who are running for president: I’m a cook for the federal contractor that runs the US Senate cafeteria. But today, they’ll have to get their meals from someone else’s hands, because I’m on strike.

I am walking off my job because I want the presidential hopefuls to know that I live in poverty. Many senators canvas the country giving speeches about creating “opportunity” for workers and helping our kids achieve the “American dream” – most don’t seem to notice or care that workers in their own building are struggling to survive.

I’m a single father and I only make $12 an hour; I had to take a second job at a grocery store to make ends meet. But even though I work seven days a week – putting in 70 hours between my two jobs – I can’t manage to pay the rent, buy school supplies for my kids or even put food on the table. I hate to admit it, but I have to use food stamps so that my kids don’t go to bed hungry.

I’ve done everything that politicians say you need to do to get ahead and stay ahead: I work hard and play by the rules; I even graduated from college and worked as a substitute teacher for five years. But I got laid-off and I now I’m stuck trying to make ends meet with dead-end service jobs.

Continue reading I am a cook in the US Senate but I still need food stamps to feed my children

Toyota to move Corolla production from Canada to Mexico to cut costs

Toyota to move Corolla production to Mexico to cut costs

(Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T, the world’s biggest automaker, plans to move production of its Corolla compact cars to a new factory in Mexico from Canada to benefit from lower costs, the Globe and Mail reported, citing sources familiar with the situation.

Costs at Toyota’s assembly plants at Cambridge and Woodstock in Ontario are higher than at its U.S. factories and it makes sense to produce the more expensive vehicles in Canada, the newspaper quoted sources familiar with the matter as saying.

Sources told Reuters that Toyota will spend $1 billion to build a car factory in Mexico, which is expected to begin functioning from the summer of 2019, ending a self-imposed three-year freeze on new investments. Toyota also plans to announce a new car factory in Guangzhou, China, this week.

Continue reading Toyota to move Corolla production from Canada to Mexico to cut costs

Poloz reiterates bright outlook as Bank of Canada holds key rate

BY BARRIE MCKENNAThe Globe and Mail

OTTAWA — Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz says there’s a brighter future ahead if people can look beyond an economy that’s teetering on the brink of outright contraction.

The central bank kept its key overnight lending rate unchanged Wednesday at 0.75 per cent, even as it released a new forecast showing Canada’s oil-dependent economy stalled and likely didn’t grow at all in the first three months of the year.

The no-growth forecast is a sharp downgrade from the 1.5-per-cent annual growth rate the bank predicted just three months ago, when Mr. Poloz rattled financial markets with a surprise quarter-percentage-point rate cut.

But Mr. Poloz insisted the economy would snap back in the second half of the year as the shock of the oil price collapse fades – optimism that suggests more interest rate relief likely won’t be needed.

“By the middle of the year we should be seeing only the good stuff,” Mr. Poloz told reporters in Ottawa.

The Canadian dollar rebounded, gaining 1.2 cents to 81.30 cents (U.S.), as investors bet that Mr. Poloz’s upbeat tone makes another rate cut this year less likely.

Some analysts aren’t convinced Mr. Poloz is right. He got the first quarter wrong and now he’s overoptimistic about what the rest of the year will bring, said Ben Homsy, a fixed-income analyst at Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel in Vancouver.

“The impact from low oil prices on the Canadian economy is not a one-quarter event,” Mr. Homsy said. “We’ll see that reverberate through the second and third quarters.”

He pointed out that dismal factory sales, which fell for a second consecutive month in February, suggest the lower Canadian dollar isn’t yet helping non-energy exporters.

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