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Found 9 results

  1. Source: Bloomberg Quebec’s unemployment rate fell to the lowest on record last month while Alberta’s surged to a two-decade high, underlining the the swing in Canada’s economic momentum through the recovery from an energy crash. Joblessness in the mostly French-speaking province fell to 6.2 percent in November from 6.8 percent in October, and in Alberta it climbed to 9 percent. The national jobless rate declined to 6.8 percent from 7 percent, Statistics Canada said Friday from Ottawa. “I’m stunned -- it’s a banner year” for Quebec, said Sebastien Lavoie, assistant chief economist at Laurentian Bank Securities in Montreal. He linked good times to a construction boom in his hometown, a low dollar boosting service industries and business confidence aided by provincial government budget surpluses. The movement of jobs from the western oil patch to central Canada’s service and factory hubs meshed with Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz’s view that non-energy companies will help the world’s 10th largest economy recover over the next few years. Poloz said this week he would only cut his 0.5 percent benchmark interest rate if there was another shock like the oil crash. His next rate decision is Wednesday. “Quebec is within a whisker of posting the lowest unemployment rate in the country, something that we haven’t seen in the 40 years of available data,” said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto. The job report “strengthens the view that the Bank of Canada will be perfectly happy staying on the sidelines.” Quebec is tied more to manufacturers like Canam Group Inc. and Montreal-based software makers, who benefit from Canada’s weaker dollar and a growing U.S. economy. South of the border, payrolls increased by 178,000 jobs, the Labor Department said, bringing the unemployment rate down to a nine-year low of 4.6 percent. The province added 8,500 jobs in November and over the past 12 months the number of unemployed people has dropped by 17 percent. It wasn’t all good news: part of the reason the jobless rate fell was 20,300 dropped out of the labor force, the most since since December 2014. Lavoie at Laurentian Bank said it would be “extremely surprising” for Quebec to make further major gains in the job market over the next year. The figures have yet to reflect some announced cutbacks at Bombardier Inc. that haven’t happened yet, and the U.S. might be about to get tough on Quebec’s large softwood lumber industry. “There are also growing uncertainties linked to trade,” he said. “There will be duties on lumber, so that’s not going to help future job creation.” The mixed pattern also showed up in the national figures. Employment climbed by 10,700 in November as 27,600 left the labor force. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected the jobless rate would be unchanged and employment would decline by 15,000.
  2. Building permits fall for third month Canwest News ServiceFebruary 5, 2009 9:01 AM OTTAWA—The value of Canadian building permits fell in December for a third straight month as a slowdown in the economy continued to temper construction activity in both residential and non-residential sectors. Statistic Canada said Thursday that municipalities issued $4.6 billion worth of permits during the month, a decline of 3.9 per cent from November. Residential permits were down 3.2 per cent to $2.6 billion in December, marking the ninth monthly drop in 2008. “Increases in multi-family permits in Ontario were not enough to offset the declines in single-family permits in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia,”the federal agency said. The value non-residential permits fell 4.9 per cent to $2 billion, the third straight monthly decline. This drop was mainly in institutional permits in Alberta and commercial permits in British Columbia, the agency said. Construction permits declined in five provinces and all three territories in December, it said.
  3. U.S. Economy: Retail Sales Drop in October by Most on Record By Shobhana Chandra and Bob Willis Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Retail sales and prices of goods imported to the U.S. dropped by the most on record, signaling the economy may be in its worst slump in decades. Purchases fell 2.8 percent in October, the fourth straight decline, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Labor Department figures showed import prices dropped 4.7 percent, pointing to a rising danger of deflation, and a private report said consumer confidence this month remained near the lowest level since 1980. ``The weakness in growth is intensifying and inflation pressures have evaporated,'' said James O'Sullivan, a senior economist at UBS Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, who accurately projected the decline in sales. ``Deflation is a word that will be increasingly used over the coming months.'' Spending may continue to falter as mounting job losses, plunging stocks and falling home values leave household finances in tatters. Retailers from Best Buy Co. to J.C. Penney Co. are cutting profit forecasts ahead of the year-end holiday shopping season, when many stores do most of their business. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said at a conference today in Frankfurt that continuing strains in financial markets and recent economic data ``confirm that challenges remain.'' The Fed chief said central bankers worldwide ``stand ready to take additional steps'' as warranted. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News predict the Fed will lower its benchmark interest rate to a record 0.5 percent by March from the current 1 percent. Policy makers next gather in Washington Dec. 16. Stocks, Treasuries Stocks fell and Treasuries rose. The Standard & Poor's 500 Stock Index dropped 1.8 percent to 894.09 at 10:11 a.m. in New York. Yields on benchmark 10-year notes fell to 3.75 percent from 3.85 percent late yesterday. The Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment was 57.9 in November compared with 57.6 last month. The measure averaged 85.6 in 2007. Retail sales were expected to fall 2.1 percent, according to the median forecast of 73 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. Purchases in September were revised down to show a 1.3 percent decrease compared with an originally reported 1.2 percent drop. ``The September-October credit jolt to the economy is showing up in all of the numbers now,'' Ellen Zentner, a senior U.S. macroeconomist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in New York, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. ``We're expecting the worst recession, possibly, post-World War II.'' Worse Than Estimates Retailers have now logged the longest string of monthly declines since the Commerce Department's comparable data series began in 1992. Excluding automobiles, purchases decreased 2.2 percent, almost twice as much as the 1.2 percent decline anticipated and also the worst performance on record. Declines were broad based as furniture, electronics, clothing and department stores all showed loses. Demand at automobile dealerships and parts stores plunged 5.5 percent after falling 4.8 percent in September. Car sales are among the most affected as banks make it harder to borrow. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson this week said the government will shift the focus of the second half of the $700 billion rescue plan from buying mortgage assets to unclogging consumer credit. President-elect Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress are under pressure to push through another stimulus plan even before the new administration takes over. Filling-station sales decreased 13 percent, also the most ever, in part reflecting a $1-per-gallon drop in the average cost of gasoline. Excluding gas, retail sales fell 1.5 percent. Gain at Restaurants Sales at furniture, electronics, clothing, sporting goods and department stores were also among the losers. Restaurants, grocery stores and a miscellaneous category were the only areas that showed a gain. ``Since mid-September, rapid, seismic changes in consumer behavior have created the most difficult climate we've ever seen,'' Brad Anderson, chief executive officer of Best Buy, said in a Nov. 12 statement. The Richfield, Minnesota-based electronics chain said sales in the four months through February 2009 will decline more than it previously estimated. Rival Circuit City Stores Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection this week. Macy's Inc., Target Corp. and Gap Inc. were among the chains that reported same-store sales dropped in October, while shoppers searching for discounts on groceries gave sales a lift at Wal- Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer. Nordstrom yesterday cut its profit forecast for the third time this year. Worst Season J.C. Penney, the third-largest U.S. department-store company, today forecast earnings that trailed analysts' estimates and posted its fifth straight quarterly profit decline as shoppers cut spending on home goods and jewelry. Shoppers are pulling back as the labor market slumps. The unemployment rate jumped to 6.5 percent in October, the highest level since 1994. Employers cut more than a half million workers from payrolls in the past two months. The longest expansion in consumer spending on record ended last quarter, causing the economy to shrink at a 0.3 percent annual pace. The economic slump will intensify this quarter and persist into the first three months of 2009, making it the longest downturn since 1974-75, economists forecast in a Bloomberg survey conducted from Nov. 3 to Nov. 11. Excluding autos, gasoline and building materials, the retail group the government uses to calculate gross domestic product figures for consumer spending, sales decreased 0.5. The government uses data from other sources to calculate the contribution from the three categories excluded. To contact the reporter on this story: Shobhana Chandra in Washington [email protected]
  4. Too fat to work: The 30st man doctors say is a risk in case he topples over and crushes his colleagues Last updated at 7:03 PM on 6th September 2010 * Obese father fights for benefits after being laid off A morbidly obese father has been diagnosed as too fat to work by doctors who fear his weight may cause him to fall over and crush his colleagues. Barry Fowers, 51, who weighs a life-threatening 30 stone, worked until October last year assembling industrial power source equipment. But insurance analysts decided he was too big a risk to himself and to others and Mr Fowers reluctantly accepted voluntary redundancy. Mr Fowers - who had a heart attack when he was 30 and has been warned another would kill him - is furious that he is still classified as fit to work despite his poor state of health. Among his ailments are angina and other heart problems, diabetes, back trouble and irritable bowel syndrome. He was initially granted incapacity benefit and has a doctor’s sick note, but does not qualify for Employment and Support Allowance worth around £75 a week. Instead, he receives Jobseeker’s Allowance, which has just been reduced to £21.65 a week. Mr Fowers, who worked for ten years at Crestchic in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, said: 'I had to climb onto platforms about a metre from the ground to get to the equipment and install parts. 'They were worried I might pass out through my diabetes and have a hypothyroidism, or have a heart attack. 'The insurance people came in and did an assessment after I had a little incident. I tripped and fell over and I was off work for a few weeks. 'I had an interview with a medical person and I told them about all my different ailments. They sent a report back to work, and I had a meeting with the managing director while I was still off work. 'They said my weight was a danger to myself and to others in case I fell off a platform while I was working. 'Because I was having a lot of time off for medical reasons, I was edged towards voluntary redundancy.' Both Mr Fowers's parents were diabetic and his mother suffered serious heart problems. For the past six months, Mr Fowers has been getting by on £65.45 a week in Jobseeker’s Allowance. However, as of August 24 he was informed his allowance was reduced to £21.65, as he is only entitled to 186 days of National Insurance . 'I’m having to accept that I may never work again,' he said, 'but I’ve paid tax and National Insurance for 34 years and I think the country should do something in return.' Mr Fowers's wife Shirley works as a part-time carer and their income is jointly assessed. His unemployed son Peter, 29, lives at the family home in Hatton, Staffordshire. Mrs Fowers said: 'One of the main reasons he volunteered to take the pay-off was because he was classed as a potential danger to himself. Also, he was a potential risk to his work colleagues in case he fell on them. 'Some days, his IBS can be so severe he can’t make it upstairs and I have to stand my husband in the shower and wash him down.' She added: 'I can’t afford to keep him. I may as well pack my husband’s bags and chuck him on the street.' Mr Fowers is currently seeking work, but has had no response from the job applications he has filled in. He said: 'Some of the applications asked "Have you got medical conditions?" and I’ve filled it in that I’ve got a heart condition and diabetes, and that does go against me. 'It does get you down. I have tried dieting, exercising and lifestyle changes. 'I have been offered the possibility of having a gastric band or bypass fitted but I’m a bit dubious about surgery. With my heart condition I think if I went under the knife I might not wake up. 'I may only live another three years.' http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1309407/The-30st-man-work-case-topples-crushes-colleagues.html
  5. Manufacturing activity at 26-year low NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A key index of the nation's manufacturing activity fell to a 26-year low, sliding into recession territory, a purchasing managers group said Monday. The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) manufacturing index tumbled to 38.9 in October from 43.5 in September. It was the lowest reading since September 1982, when the index registered 38.8. Economists were expecting a reading of 42, according to a survey conducted by Briefing.com. The tipping point for the index is 50, with a reading below that indicating contraction in manufacturing activity. The index has hovered around the 50 mark since September 2007, with an average of 49.1. A reading below 41 is considered a sign that the economy is in recession. "It appears that manufacturing is experiencing significant demand destruction as a result of recent events, with members indicating challenges associated with the financial crisis, interruptions from the Gulf hurricane, and the lagging impact from higher oil prices," said Norbert Ore, chairman of the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, in a statement. Employment in the manufacturing sector fell for the third month in a row. ISM's employment measure registered 34.6 in October, down 7.2 points from September. It was the lowest reading for the employment component since March 1991, when it registered 33.6. The index component for the prices manufacturers pay for raw materials declined 16.5 points to a reading of 37 in the month. It was the lowest point for the component since December 2001 when the prices index registered 33.2. In a sign of growing economic weakness worldwide, the index's measure of export orders fell 11 points to a reading of 41. The decline came after 70 months of expansion. Rising exports had been a bright spot for U.S. manufacturers as the domestic economy deteriorates. But last month's decline suggests that struggling consumers overseas are losing their appetite for U.S. exports.
  6. As a passionate Montrealer, it's getting exhausting. Some will come and defend the status quo but I Sense the strong majority think things are getting a little ridiculous chez nous http://www.economist.com/blogs/americasview/2013/07/language-canada-0 Language in Canada Polly wants un craquelin Jul 30th 2013, 20:35 by K.C. EARLIER this month Canadians were shocked to learn that Bouton, an English-speaking parrot at the Montreal Biodome in the French-speaking province of Quebec, was being deported to Toronto following a surprise visit to the zoo by a representative of the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF), the body charged with ensuring the primacy of French in Quebec. The story, published by the Beaverton, a satirical magazine, turned out to be a spoof. But Quebec's linguistic intolerance is all too real. Just ask Xavier Ménard. Mr Ménard wanted to list his firm with the province's company registrar but was rejected. The reason? His company's name, Wellarc, sounds too English. Mr Menard's protestations that it is a portmanteau of the French words web, langage, logo, artistique and compagnie fell on deaf ears. Such misplaced verbal intransigence last week prompted Mr Ménard to vent his frustration on YouTube (in French). The video has gone viral. Mr Ménard's predicament is no isolated incident. Quebec has strict language laws, zealously enforced by the OQLF. One statute makes French the "normal and everyday language of work, instruction, communication, commerce and business". It also authorises the OQLF to "act on its own initiative or following the filing of a complaint". The number of such complaints rose from 2,780 in 2009 to over 4,000 last year. In the past few months alone the OQLF has ruled that French shop signs be printed in font sizes three times larger than those in English, told an Italian restaurant to substitute pâtes for pasta on its menu (arguments that pasta is a perfectly good Italian word apparently cut no ice) and ordered a popular frozen-yogurt chain to replace its spoons with cuillères. Those who fail to comply face fines of up to C$20,000 ($19,500). Although the rules exempt trademarks, in 2011 the OQFL controversially decided that public shop signs constitute displays of business names, which are not protected. That would force big retailers with English-sounding names to change their shop fronts, at considerable cost. Best Buy, Costco, Gap, Old Navy, Guess and Wal-Mart therefore asked the Superior Court of Quebec for an authoritative interpretation of the law. The ruling is expected in October. The Parti Québécois (PQ), which currently runs Quebec, has not stopped there. It wants to be able to refuse to grant provincial-government contracts to federally regulated companies, such as banks, telecoms firms or railways, unless they abide by the rules. Pauline Marois, the province's PQ premier, would like all catalogues and brochures to have a French version, and to extend the requirement that any company with 50 or more workers prove the use of French throughout its business to all firms with more than 25 employees. In 1976, when the PQ, which is responsible for the linguistic legislation, first came to power, around 800,000 of Quebec's 6.2m people were English-speakers. By 2011 that fell to fewer than 600,000, even as the province's population rose to 8m. There may be plenty of reasons why Anglophone Quebeckers have upped sticks. Fleeing before they meet Bouton's hypothetical fate could be one.
  7. http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20090508/Toyota_loss_090508/20090508?hub=World