Europe to Austerity Measures: Tais-toi!

After a refreshing day off, I return to see that both Greece and France have effectively turned their backs on Austerity measures, by voting in folks who are opposed to all this “save the world’s economy by not spending like a drunken sailor on furlough…” (OK that is my interpretation).

Can we blame them? Would you vote for a party that is saying, “Vote for us and your services will be cut, and you will pay more taxes (and possibly you will lose your job and your pensions will be cut)..”? I must admit it would take someone with a very strong “financial moral compass” to vote that way, and I guess our European cousins don’t feel that way right now.

What will happen now? Lots more fun and excitement on the markets in the short term, that is for sure, but saying you will ignore stern economic measures and actually doing it is another story (just ask Bob Rae what happened to him when he got elected Premier of Ontario).

Make sure you have the “financial safety bar” tightly fastened because this financial roller coaster is about to get a lot more interesting!

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When Millionaires Strike

So with the NBA strike you start to wonder, who is really losing money on this deal? I think the players are losing a little, the owners are losing a little more (but they are trying to make a point, so they are to blame for this one), but as pointed out in the short from PBS, it is the small businesses that rely on having a team around that are really losing money.

When the hockey strike happened, I wondered what the point was, and with this strike I really wonder what the point of it is? I realize the players want to keep their rights, the owners want to make money, but between the two groups they are making Billions of dollars (total) off playing a game, can they not just figure that out and go back to it? Yes, I am nowhere near talented enough to even clean the floors at an NBA game, but as a consumer of their product (well I was when I was younger, not so much any more) I really have to wonder what exactly is the point that is being made here?

Get back to playing, and figure out who gets the millions off the court guys.

Watch NBA Lockout Economic Impact on Cities and Lost Jobs on PBS. See more from Nightly Business Report.

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Does Democracy Help the Economy?

A very interesting (if not emotionally charged) question that one of the Ted talks asks.

Economist Yasheng Huang compares China to India, and asks how China’s authoritarian rule contributed to its astonishing economic growth — leading to a big question: Is democracy actually holding India back? Huang’s answer may surprise you.

No, I am not saying Canada should go totaletarian (any more than it might already be (sorry I was channeling my inner NDP)), but it is a very interesting argument about whether Democracies intrinsic “… let’s all be fair …” rules impeed true free enterprise? Yes it does, but I am not trading Democracy to make business a little easier, and under one party rule (to put it as politely as possible), corruption is much easier to run rampant, so I will take my Democracy thanks.

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Just to show that I missed you too, here is an interesting short from PBS (support public broadcasting) chatting with the Wizard of Omaha (Warren Buffett) about a whole bunch of things. An interesting commentary by him about ethics inside of his own company, and a mea culpa from him as well (good for him).

This short video is from the PBS Nightly Business Report, and while short, an interesting tidbit from Mr. Buffett:

Program: Nightly Business Report
Episode: Warren Buffett on Ethics, Succession, Jobs, Acquisitions, Dividends
Warren Buffett’s full interview from the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder’s meeting. Susie Gharib questions the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway on important issues for investors.

My apologies for the advertisement at the beginning, but an interesting little chat with Mr. Buffett about issues with BRK.A and such.

NB: Unfortunately the video has gone walk-about, but look for it on PBS

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Employment Up a Little More in December

The year ended OK in terms of Employment, with the Employment rate increasing, according to Stats Canada on Friday.  In total there were 22,000 new jobs in December, with 38,000 of those being full-time positions, which is great news. I will make my monthly observation that there needs to be an index that reflects Full-Time employment position stats (yes it is included by Stats Canada, with this data).

To quote Stats Canada:

Employment edged up for the second consecutive month in December, with an increase of 22,000. The unemployment rate held steady at 7.6%. Compared with December 2009, employment increased by 2.2% (+369,000), following a decline of 1.1% the previous year.

So as a whole 2010 was a good year for folks getting jobs back, and that has got to be good news for the Canadian economy overall.

Employment Graph

Final Employment Graph for 2010

This graph is reassuring for Canadians, and hearing that the job increases in Full-time employment is even better news.

Unemployment Graph

Final Unemployment Graph for 2010

This is one of those weird months where, even though Employment increased, unemployment didn’t decrease? Statistics are a wonderful thing.

Private Sector Recovery?

The number of private sector employees increased by 53,000 in December, while self-employment fell by 38,000. At the same time, public sector employment was little changed.

There is a lot of interesting information in this article (I encourage you to read this), but one that caught my eye was that the Private Sector seems to be hiring more folks, which means industry must be recovering in some fashion. The Public Sector has hired a large number of folks, but the Private Sector is the important area where hiring needs to rebound.

Over the past 12 months, 332,000 (+3.1%) employees were added to the private sector and 143,000 (+4.2%) to the public sector. The number of self-employed declined by 106,000 (-3.9%) over the same period.

The Big Table

I include one of the many big tables from Stats Canada outlining employment by age, which is important to me.

November 2010 December 2010 Nov. to
Dec. 2010
Dec. 2009 to
Dec. 2010
Nov. to
Dec. 2010
Dec. 2009
to Dec. 2010
Seasonally adjusted
thousands change in thousands % change
Both sexes, 15 years and over
Population 27,868.9 27,894.2 25.3 403.5 0.1 1.5
Labour force 18,654.8 18,674.0 19.2 236.8 0.1 1.3
Employment 17,227.9 17,249.9 22.0 368.5 0.1 2.2
Full-time 13,898.3 13,936.3 38.0 259.1 0.3 1.9
Part-time 3,329.6 3,313.5 -16.1 109.2 -0.5 3.4
Unemployment 1,426.9 1,424.1 -2.8 -131.7 -0.2 -8.5
Participation rate 66.9 66.9 0.0 -0.2
Unemployment rate 7.6 7.6 0.0 -0.8
Employment rate 61.8 61.8 0.0 0.4
Part-time rate 19.3 19.2 -0.1 0.2
Youths, 15 to 24 years
Population 4,410.7 4,411.3 0.6 11.0 0.0 0.2
Labour force 2,787.0 2,824.8 37.8 -23.0 1.4 -0.8
Employment 2,407.5 2,433.9 26.4 41.9 1.1 1.8
Full-time 1,260.8 1,272.0 11.2 -0.3 0.9 0.0
Part-time 1,146.7 1,161.9 15.2 42.3 1.3 3.8
Unemployment 379.5 390.9 11.4 -65.0 3.0 -14.3
Participation rate 63.2 64.0 0.8 -0.7
Unemployment rate 13.6 13.8 0.2 -2.2
Employment rate 54.6 55.2 0.6 0.8
Part-time rate 47.6 47.7 0.1 0.9
Men, 25 years and over
Population 11,476.4 11,488.9 12.5 195.1 0.1 1.7
Labour force 8,414.0 8,414.7 0.7 146.7 0.0 1.8
Employment 7,836.1 7,844.7 8.6 235.1 0.1 3.1
Full-time 7,233.4 7,233.8 0.4 223.4 0.0 3.2
Part-time 602.7 610.9 8.2 11.7 1.4 2.0
Unemployment 577.9 570.0 -7.9 -88.3 -1.4 -13.4
Participation rate 73.3 73.2 -0.1 0.0
Unemployment rate 6.9 6.8 -0.1 -1.2
Employment rate 68.3 68.3 0.0 0.9
Part-time rate 7.7 7.8 0.1 -0.1
Women, 25 years and over
Population 11,981.7 11,994.1 12.4 197.5 0.1 1.7
Labour force 7,453.8 7,434.6 -19.2 113.2 -0.3 1.5
Employment 6,984.3 6,971.3 -13.0 91.5 -0.2 1.3
Full-time 5,404.1 5,430.5 26.4 36.1 0.5 0.7
Part-time 1,580.2 1,540.7 -39.5 55.3 -2.5 3.7
Unemployment 469.5 463.3 -6.2 21.7 -1.3 4.9
Participation rate 62.2 62.0 -0.2 -0.1
Unemployment rate 6.3 6.2 -0.1 0.2
Employment rate 58.3 58.1 -0.2 -0.2
Part-time rate 22.6 22.1 -0.5 0.5

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