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High tech US firms outsource to Montreal Tue, 2008-11-11 06:03. David Cohen An IT recruitment agency in Montreal says there has been a spike in the number of American companies crossing the border into Canada -- especially Montreal -- to do their software development and to save money. Kovasys Technology cites the unstable economy in the US, and massive layoffs. It says more and more companies are deciding to save money and move their IT operations to a cheaper but not out of the way location, and for many, that means Montreal. Quebec introduced subsidies for high tech companies less than a year ago.
Job picture may be worse than it looks Many losses were full-time positions. Weakness in U.S. saps Canada as unemployment rate rises to 6.6% By SHEILA MCGOVERN, The Gazette; Reuters contributed to this report January 10, 2009 Canada's unemployment rate shot up more than expected in December, but avoided the carnage witnessed in the U.S. where the jobless rate is now the highest in 16 years. Still, Canadian economists aren't heaving a sigh of relief. The country is definitely in recession, there's more bad news ahead and it would be naive to think Canada won't feel repercussions from the bloodbath to the south, said Carlos Leitao, chief economist at Laurentian Bank Securities. And that includes Quebec, he quickly added. "This week, we've seen articles here and there stating somehow Quebec was on some other planet, able to ride out this storm. Well, not. We are on the same planet as everyone else." And the dreadful situation in the U.S. will sap Canada's manufacturing sector, based in Quebec and Ontario, he said. Canada lost 34,400 jobs in December, driving the unemployment rate to 6.6 per cent from 6.3 per cent, fuelled by losses in construction. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says housing starts slid 11.8 per cent in November, the third double-digit decrease in four months. Quebec saw its unemployment rate rise to 7.3 per cent from 7.1 per cent, because of losses in construction, trade and the tourism industry. And the figures are actually more troubling than they appear, Leitao said. There were major losses in full-time jobs, he said, which were partly offset by gains in part-time work. "That's not exactly a recipe for great prosperity. We have weak job creation and the quality is less than a year ago." And it isn't about to get better, said Krishen Rangasamy of CIBC World Markets. "With forthcoming plant closures and layoffs already announced, it's clear the worst is yet to come on the employment front, with the unemployment rate likely to creep up steadily toward eight per cent." However, economists said we can take some solace: for a rare moment, our unemployment rate is less than that of the U.S. Though the past two months have been tough here, employment in Canada at least grew between December 2007 and December 2008, albeit by a scant 0.6 per cent (an addition of 98,000 jobs, 100 of them in Quebec.) The U.S. has been losing all year and, in December, was hit with a massive drop of 524,000 jobs, driven by layoffs in all major sectors except government, education and health. That pushed its unemployment rate to 7.2 per cent from 6.8 per cent in November, higher than the seven per cent analysts were forecasting and a peak not seen since January 1993. Total job loses for 2008 reached 2.6 million, the largest decline since a 2.75-million drop in 1945. "The job situation is ugly and is going to get uglier. There's no reason to expect hiring anytime in the next three to six months. We are not going to see any hiring until the government steps in and acts. Talk doesn't work," said Richard Yamarone, chief economist at Argus Research in New York. The collapse of the U.S. housing market and the resulting financial crisis have triggered the worst financial environment since the Great Depression, and businesses and consumers have both retrenched. The darkening labour market picture underscored the sense of urgency President-elect Barack Obama and lawmakers feel about enacting a huge economic stimulus plan. "Clearly the situation is dire. It is deteriorating and it demands urgent and immediate action," Obama told a news conference yesterday. "This morning, we received a stark reminder about how urgently action is needed." [email protected] thegazette.canwest.com