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Found 16 results

  1. Draxis to create up to 100 jobs after chosen by J&J for contract manufacturing 6 days ago MONTREAL (CP) — Pharma company Draxis Health Inc. (TSX:DAX) is building a new Montreal plant and hiring up to 100 people after the company's contract manufacturing division expanded its existing relationship with Johnson & Johnson, one of the world's biggest consumer products companies. The contract expansion will lead to between 80 to 100 new positions at Draxis Pharma operations in the Montreal area and require the building of a new secondary plant, in addition to the current Draxis manufacturing plant in suburban Kirkland, the company said Wednesday. On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Draxis stock jumped 34 cents to trade at $5.39, a gain of 6.7 per cent as investors reacted positively to the news. Draxis said the new deal with Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies Inc. could mean another US$120 million in revenues over five years to the Canadian company. In addition, the transfer of equipment and production technologies, now in progress, is expected to generate additional revenues this year and next of between US$6 million and US$8 million. The supply deal, which runs to the end of 2013 and can be extended, involves the manufacturing of non-sterile specialty semi-solid products currently sold in the United States. Commercial production is expected to begin in 2009. "The signing of this contract is a reflection of the solid business model at Draxis," said Martin Barkin, president and CEO of the Toronto-area company. "We are honoured to have been selected from more than 80 international contract manufacturers under a rigorous and comprehensive global selection process conducted over an extended multi-year period. "This contract includes prescription and non-prescription products and will significantly improve capacity utilization in the semi-solids section of our non-sterile operations." As a result of the manufacturing deal, Draxis plans to build a new secondary plant to handle labeling, product assembly for different markets, cartoning and shipping. The new operation is slated to open next summer and will complement the company's production plant in Kirkland, in west-end Montreal. The jobs expansion is good news for the local Montreal economy, which has also seen other drug developers expand operations in recent months. In June, global drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) announced it has spent $50 million to upgrade its laboratory north of Montreal into the North American research and administrative headquarters for its vaccine division. GlaxoSmithKline, based in Britain, is a world leader in the vaccine business. The company has 3,300 employees in Canada, including 1,400 in Quebec. Draxis, based in Mississauga, Ont. makes sterile products such as injectable liquids, ointments and creams, non-sterile products as well as radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic imaging and treatment. The company employs about 500 people at its Montreal plant. Last year, Draxis generated a profit of US$11.5 million on revenues of just under US$90 million.
  2. Mediocre job performance is better than the alternative JAY BRYAN, The Gazette Published: 7 hours ago Canada's job market is in mediocre shape, we discovered yesterday, and when you look at the alternative, this is wonderful news. For the past few weeks, many economic forecasters have been nervously asking themselves if Canada could resist the powerful recessionary undertow from a slumping U.S. economy or whether we'd fall into a downturn similar to the one that's under way south of the border. The final answer might not be available for a little longer, but yesterday's August job reports out of Ottawa and Washington make it clear that, for now, Canada is doing much better than the U.S. and is certainly nowhere near recession. In Canada, employment grew by a solid, if uninspiring, 15,200 jobs, returning to growth after two months of declines. That left the unemployment rate at 6.1 per cent, just above its record low of 5.8 per cent in February. So far this year, the Canadian economy has created 86,900 jobs. In the U.S, by contrast, August proved to be the eighth month in a row of shrinking employment, with 605,000 jobs lost (divide by 10 for a rough equivalence to Canadian numbers) since the beginning of this year. Unemployment south of the border jumped to a five-year high of 6.1 per cent - which sounds low to Canadians, but because of differences in measurement methods, is approximately equivalent to a Canadian unemployment rate of 7.1 per cent. Canada's modestly good job report reinforces the rationale for the Bank of Canada's decision to hold interest rates steady this week. The bank's targeted rate is already quite low at three per cent, and there's no clear need to pump emergency stimulus into the economy. Indeed, one of the the country's weakest sectors in recent years, manufacturing, has shown surprising resilience this year. As of August, factory employment was down by just 14,000, or 0.7 per cent, for this year. That's quite an accomplishment, given the plunge in car purchases by U.S. shoppers, who are the key market for Ontario's giant auto industry. In fact, Ontario has done quite well for a manufacturing province heavily dependent on U.S. customers. So far this year, it has created 51,900 jobs and its unemployment rate has actually edged down to 6.3 per cent from last December's 6.5 per cent, thanks to strong employment in construction and service industries. Ironically, Quebec, another big manufacturing province, hasn't done nearly as well, even though its big aerospace industry is much healthier than the auto industry, helping Quebec's factory sector create some jobs this year. Still, Quebec is one of the few provinces not to have enjoyed overall job growth so far in 2008. In fact, employment has shrunk by 25,200, while the unemployment rate has risen to 7.7 per cent from 7.0 per cent at the end of last year. Montreal's unemployment rate is up just 0.1 per cent so far this year, to 7.3 per cent in August, but this doesn't reflect any better performance than Quebec's on the employment front. The city actually lost 15,700 jobs in the first eight months of the year, but this was mostly offset by the 13,000 workers who abandoned the Montreal job market, making them disappear from the unemployment calculation. They might have found better opportunities elsewhere, gone back to school or simply stopped looking after a tough job search.On the provincial level, Quebec construction employment has been lukewarm and consumer-oriented service industries like retailiing have been shedding jobs, notes economist Sébastien Lavoie at Laurentian Bank Securities. As well, education employment has shrunk in Quebec as it grew in Ontario. Lavoie suggests that Quebec consumers may feeling worried enough to be cutting back on spending, while in Ontario's bigger, more diverse economy, there are still enough areas of growth to offset the auto industry's distress. Nevertheless, Ontario's ability to shrug off the U.S. economy's distress could be living on borrowed time, warns economist Douglas Porter at BMO Capital Markets. There are layoff announcements and factory closings that have yet to go into effect, he notes. And as for Ontario's boom in condo and office construction, "I have to wonder how long it can hang on."
  3. Growth in mining sector reshaping Quebec economy BARRIE MCKENNA OTTAWA— Globe and Mail Blog Posted on Thursday, March 15, 2012 12:48PM EDT http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/economy-lab/daily-mix/growth-in-mining-sector-reshaping-quebec-economy/article2370299/ Think of the Quebec economy, and the traditional drivers are energy, forestry and manufacturing. But there’s a new engine in Quebec – mining – and it’s reshaping the economy of both the province, and the country. Investment in the province’s mining industry is expected to reach $4.4-billion this year, up 62 per cent from 2011. That’s nearly equal to the capital that will be poured into manufacturing ($5-billion), a remarkable 27 per cent of all business investment in the province and represents half of all mining investment in the country, according to a National Bank of Canada analysis of recent Statistics Canada figures. “That’s never happened before,” National Bank of Canada chief economist Stéfane Marion said in an interview. “It’s a huge growth driver for the province this year, and in the future.” It’s not the only first. Quebec will lead the country in mining investment this year, outpacing Ontario, Mr. Marion said. Mining investment is expected to hit $3.7-billion in Ontario, $2.8-billion in B.C. and $500-million in Alberta. For Quebec, the money pouring into dozens of iron ore, gold, copper and other mining projects could add a full percentage to GDP this year and cause an unexpected boost in royalty revenue for the cash-strapped government. It will also have spinoff benefits for Montreal-area manufacturers, who will help supply mining-related equipment. But Mr. Marion said there are broader implications. The Quebec economy is starting to look a lot more like the booming resource-rich provinces of the West. “This is a material change in the industrial structure of Quebec,” Ms. Marion said. “It brings the interests of Western Canada and Quebec into line. It’s not just a pure Western Canada story now. It’s spreading to Eastern Canada.” Quebec is also positioning itself to capitalize on the growing resource appetite in China and other fast-growing emerging economies, he said. And the good news: The mining boom is just getting started as Quebec plots its 25-year “Plan Nord” strategy.
  4. Almost 80,000 jobs lost in February: StatsCan By The Canadian Press OTTAWA - Non-farm payrolls lost 79,600 jobs in February, with manufacturing taking the worst hit, Statistics Canada reported Wednesday. The agency said those losses continue a slump that began last October and which has cost 296,000 jobs. The agency's survey of non-farm, payroll employment found the biggest February drop was in manufacturing, where 19,300 jobs were lost. Since October, 99,700 manufacturing jobs have disappeared, a loss of 6.1 per cent. That figure is three times the rate of decline of total payroll employment. Nearly a quarter of the manufacturing job losses came in the auto industry. The survey said the number of employees working in motor vehicle parts manufacturing has fallen by 13,300 since October, while motor vehicle and motor vehicle body manufacturing has dropped by 10,200. As of February, there were 111,500 employees in motor vehicle assembly and parts, down 65,000 or 37 per cent from the peak recorded in 2001. The auto slump has echoes in related industries. Payrolls in auto repair shops are down by 5,000 since October. Auto dealers have cut 4,200 jobs in the period, while parts dealers have 2,300 fewer workers. The construction sector lost 11,100 jobs in February. There were more modest declines other sectors, including non-Internet publishing (4,800), credit intermediaries and related activities (4,300) and truck transportation (4,200). But there were some job gains in health and education, including elementary and secondary schools, and community colleges and CEGEPs in Quebec. The February losses came in all provinces, but Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia took the worst hits. Quebec lost 30,300 jobs in February, a 0.9 per cent drop. Ontario and Alberta each experienced a decline of 0.6 per cent, while British Columbia employment fell by 0.4 per cent. While Quebec experienced the largest monthly decline, both Ontario and British Columbia had the biggest drop between February 2008 and February 2009. Over the year, Ontario payrolls declined by 1.7 per cent or 97,800 jobs. The losses were mostly in manufacturing, with a 12.1 per cent drop of 94,000. In British Columbia, payroll employment was down 28,400 or 1.5 per cent in February compared with a year earlier. Much of this decline was linked to forestry and its related industries. Major communities in southwestern Ontario have all shown sharp losses and in March, Windsor had the highest unemployment rate of any large community in the country - 13.7 per cent. Average weekly earnings, including overtime, of payroll employees in February was $820.95, up 1.8 per from February 2008. This was slower than January's year-over-year increase of 2.4 per cent. From Yahoo news: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/0...ness/jobs_lost
  5. Nicolas Van Praet, Financial Post · Jun. 6, 2013 | Last Updated: Jun. 6, 2013 2:23 PM ET MONTREAL • Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. is revamping its Canadian manufacturing operations in Montreal as investors savour a tripling in the company’s shares over the past year. The Waterbury, Vt.-based company, which bought Quebec coffee chain Van Houtte in 2010, will announce Friday a $40-million to $50-million investment to modernize its plant in Montreal’s Saint Michel neighbourhood with new packaging equipment, two sources said. More than 100 new jobs will be created in the move. It’s all part of a larger effort by Green Mountain Canada President Sylvain Toutant to fortify and grow the company’s presence in Montreal since the $915-million takeover three years ago. Building on initial moves to purchase property around the company’s Van Houtte coffee facility in the city’s north end and to occupy a new country head office, Mr. Toutant is now expanding the Montreal manufacturing operations. “This is really a great piece of news for a neighbourhood that badly needs it,” said Frantz Benjamin, the municipal councillor representing the district, adding the company’s modernization is only the first phase of what could be a larger economic development project for the neighbourhood. Related “In the medium term, we’d really like to develop an entire Quartier du Café (Coffee District) in the area,” anchored around Green Mountain, he said. Montreal has other geographical clusters of business activity, but this one in Saint Michel’s industrial district would be among the more remote. The coffee maker sought financial support from the Quebec government for the manufacturing modernization, which it is believed to have won. The funds would be used to add a production line in Saint Michel and diversify commercial activities, the company said in a filing with Quebec’s lobbyist registry. Shares of Green Mountain rose 3% to $74.68 in Nasdaq trading Thursday. They’ve more than tripled over the past year. In December, Mr. Toutant articulated a three-year plan for Green Mountain’s Montreal site to add 50,000 square feet of production space, boost the payroll by 150 workers to 1,000, and refurbish the roasting plant. The site currently encompases the head office, a roasting factory and two distribution warehouses. Green Mountain dominates the single-serve coffee market in the United States with its Keurig-brand coffee makers and K-Cup pods, making money from most of the coffee sold for those machines. The company lost more than two-thirds of its market value during the year ending last October, but has since staged a remarkable recovery, proving that despite the expiry of its K-Cup design patents it can still generate earnings growth. Green Mountain’s product innovation will be an important performance driver in the years ahead, Imperial Capital analyst Mitchell Pinheiro said in a research note Thursday, initiating coverage on the shares with an outperform rating and $95 price target. “We believe the company’s potential on the cold beverage side of the at-home beverage category could create an opportunity that is as large, if not larger, than its current coffee, tea and hot cocoa segment,” Mr. Pinheiro said, forecasting earnings per share growth of 15-25% over the next three years. http://www.nationalpost.com/Green+Mountain+boost+Montreal+operations+with+much+investment/8490304/story.html
  6. Montreal's vital signs improving PETER HADEKEL, The Gazette Published: 7 hours ago When consulting economist Marcel Cote put together a statistical picture of the Montreal area, he found several signs of improvement. The region's unemployment rate, long among the worst in urban Canada, is now closer to the national average than it's been in two decades. The workforce is getting smarter. Over the last 10 years, the proportion of Montrealers who've completed post-secondary studies has shot up from 43 per cent to 55 per cent and is now above the Canadian average. Innovation is thriving. Between 1990 and 2005, the share of scientific and technical jobs in the labour force has grown at a faster rate than in Toronto and Vancouver. Cote collected the data for the Foundation of Greater Montreal, which yesterday published its annual checkup on the metropolitan area, titled Vital Signs. The report is intended to raise awareness on the challenges and opportunities facing the community. It also serves as a good gauge of the quality of life in Montreal. But for all of Montreal's improvements, there are plenty of problems to address. Nearly a quarter of families earn low incomes and a disproportionate number of seniors live in poverty. Chronic homelessness remains an issue, especially among First Nations and Inuit. And Montreal still hasn't figured out how to integrate immigrants into its economic fabric. Relative to Canadian-born workers, the jobless rate among immigrants is far higher than it is for Canada as a whole. Asked to sum up his findings, Cote noted that in areas where change happens quickly, Montreal has done quite well. For example, changes in public policy like government mandated pay equity have helped put money into consumers' pockets and improved Quebec's economic performance. But on longer term issues like poverty and personal health, progress is much slower. On the island of Montreal, 25 per cent of women and 40 per cent of men did not have a family physician. In secondary schools, only 39 per cent of students exercised enough to be in good physical condition. It's worth remembering that economic health is closely linked to social health. Prosperity and growth help to pay for improvements in health and social services. As well, the link between educational attainment and a strong economy is clear, Cote noted. The high dropout rate in Montreal-area schools is closely linked to the incidence of poverty. To ensure that growth continues, Montreal will have to address tough challenges, including: the aging of its population, the impact of globalization and the competitive threat from such emerging economies as China, India, Russia and Brazil. The city also needs huge infrastructure repairs. And a way must be found to reorganize municipal finances so that it can meet the needs of citizens. If Montreal can do a better job in these areas, it should be well-positioned to compete, because its economy is diversified and increasingly driven by knowledge industries. "Montreal's fundamental comparative advantage is in advanced manufacturing," Cote says. The city has a skilled and stable work force that attracts investment. "Our advanced manufacturing industries are not too threatened by the developing countries." Of all the challenges ahead, Cote says the biggest one may be remaining an open and international city while retaining the French character of Montreal. "We have to stay open," he said. "We have to accommodate more immigrants. But we have to get them to accept French. Otherwise, they don't have jobs, they're not happy and they leave." Montreal has done a fairly good job of retaining new immigrants but must get them into the workforce faster. "The fact that Montreal is French in North America is our fundamental challenge. We want to keep it this way, we like it this way, it makes a very interesting city. But it has its problems." Cote added, however, that if cities like Brussels, Amsterdam and London can retain an international quality, Montreal can too. Immigration is key to both arresting the city's demographic decline and positioning it to prosper in the global economy. [email protected]
  7. GE Hydro to close Montreal plant in 2008, affecting 450 workers 1 hour ago MONTREAL - The GE Hydro plant in the Montreal suburb of Lachine will close next June, eliminating 450 jobs. The subsidiary of American giant General Electric has made more than half of the Hydro-Quebec turbines installed at the James Bay dams. The plant's activities will end with the completion of these contracts, employees were told. The company said it is restructuring its activities, adding that its hydroelectric division has been losing money. The laid-off workers are mostly welders, machinists and warehouse workers. The closure of the 89-year-old facility is another blow to Montreal's manufacturing sector, which has been struck hard by the appreciation of the Canadian dollar and growing competition from emerging countries, particularly China. At its peak production in the 1970s, GE Hydro employed more than 3,500 workers
  8. Ontario in decline: From Canada's economic engine to clunker Can Dalton McGuinty see the light and reverse the decay with his forthcoming budget? By Paul Vieira, Financial Post March 23, 2009 A month before Dalton McGuinty, the Liberal Ontario Premier, hit the election trail in the fall of 2007 to seek a second mandate, an ominous warning sign of the province's crumbling economic stature emerged that should have provided fodder for the campaign. An analysis from leading Bay Street economist Dale Orr said Ontarians' standard of living had plummeted -- from a peak of 15% above the Canadian average in the mid-1980s to just more than 5%. Accompanying the analysis was a warning of further erosion by 2010. Alas, the eye-opening report hardly generated buzz during the election campaign. Instead, most of the talk was about a Conservative proposal to provide government funding for faith-based schooling. Ontarians didn't warm to the idea and re-elected Mr. McGuinty's Liberals with another majority. Reflecting today on that report, Mr. Orr said his nightmare scenario for Ontario has unfolded as envisaged. If anything, the situation in the province may be worse. As the McGuinty government prepares to table its sixth provincial budget on Thursday, it does so knowing the province that was once the country's economic engine is now the clunker of the confederation. While former have-nots such as Saskatchewan post surpluses this fiscal year, Ontario is bleeding red ink--a cumulative two-year deficit of $18-billion. Ontario's dramatic decline comes as no accident. It was decades in the making, based on a combination of mismanaged public finances and the ascent of emerging economies at the expense of high-cost manufacturing. Upon taking office in 2003, Mr. McGuinty moved to pour tens of billions of dollars into improving government services -- health care, education and social programs targeting the downtrodden -- while neglecting the changing economic landscape. To help finance this agenda, he raised corporate taxes and slapped a health-care levy on households. These moves, analysts say, helped cement Ontario as one of the least attractive places for companies to invest. Analysts wonder whether the economic crisis is finally going to force Mr. McGuinty and Dwight Duncan, his Minister of Finance, to make tough choices on spending and undertake the kind of tax reform -- as displayed this week by New Brunswick-- that will help the province attract investment to offset heavy job losses in Ontario. Derek Burleton, senior economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank, said Thursday's budget presents a possible turning point for the province. "There is no doubt we are undergoing a period of transformation as some of the industries that have driven healthy gains in living standards are on the decline," said Mr. Burleton, who co-authored a report with TD chief economist Don Drummond last fall that called on the province to embrace a "sweeping" new economic vision. "Given the sizeable deficit the province faces, that will put increasing pressure on the government to prioritize." One of those priorities is for Mr. McGuinty to cease his preferred manner of dealing with difficulties in the industrial heartland -- funneling tens of millions of dollars to the manufacturing sector, particularly automotive, through targeted tax relief or direct subsidies. "What the province should have been doing over the years was to make the province more flexible in attracting new businesses and not diverting resources into declining sectors," said Finn Poschmann, vice-president of research at the C. D. Howe Institute, a Toronto-based think-tank that has been critical of Ontario's tax breaks for struggling sectors such as autos and forest products. "Do you want to steer resources to the sectors where the outlook is positive and growing? Or do you want to divert resources from these stars, which are more likely to generate the long-term employment and wage growth that Ontario is accustomed to?" The manufacturing sector, and its high-paying jobs, used to be the province's crown jewel. But as a component of Ontario's GDP, it has dropped from a peak of 23% in 2000 to roughly 18% on factors such as a richer Canadian dollar, higher energy costs and offshore competition. It is expected to fall further once the dust settles from this crisis. The province was largely able to mask the decline in manufacturing through a combination of a booming housing market, a surge in public sector hiring and a robust financial services sector. The financial crisis, however, has exposed those flaws. For the period starting in 2003, only Quebec and Nova Scotia have produced weaker growth than Ontario. Forecasts suggest Ontario was the only province whose economy shrank last year, and economists say it will record either the worst, or second-worst performance, among provinces this year. Scotia Capital, for instance, has Ontario's economy contracting 2.9% in 2009, and posting meagre growth of 1.4% in 2010, below the expected national average. Of the roughly 295,000 jobs lost in Canada since October, nearly half have come from the province. The result? Unemployment in Ontario, at 8.7%, is now higher than it is the United States (8.1%) and above Quebec's 7.9% jobless rate-- the first time that has happened in three decades. The news is not expected to get any better any time soon. "We believe that the unemployment rate in Canada's largest province should hit 10% by 2010, even if the automobile sector's restructuring plan works," said Sebastian Lavoie, an economist at Laurentian Bank Securities. Further, Mr. Lavoie said wage growth in the province is destined to take a hit. In the past, companies were forced to offer comparable wages and benefits based on what the Canadian Auto Workers would negotiate with the Detroit car makers. But Mr. Lavoie said that will no longer be the case, with CAW accepting salary freezes and making concessions on perks such as cost-of-living-allowance. The financial crisis has just exacerbated a growing trend, said Mary Webb, senior economist at Scotia Capital. Ontario's receipts from foreign-bound exports last year represent an 11.7% drop from a peak of $185.1-billion recorded in 2000. For the same time period, Quebec's receipts fell by just 2.9%. For the rest of Canada, excluding Ontario and Quebec, receipts have surged a whopping 72%. Compounding Ontario's problem is the emergence of big deficit, fuelled in part by shrinking tax revenue and years of escalated program spending. Under Mr. McGuinty, program spending now stands at $23-billion per year more than when he took office in October, 2003, an increase of 36%. In fiscal year, 2007-08, program spending climbed more than 10% to $87.6-billion, compared with a 5.4% increase in tax revenue. Observers note Mr. McGuinty's ascent to power in 2003 can be attributed to a desire for change among Ontarians after years of the hard-nosed, right-leaning Conservative regime that earned scorned for cutting government services. Mr. McGuinty's two terms have been dominated by a push to restore spending on public goods such as education, health care, infrastructure and social services. Analysts say Mr. McGuinty was on the right track to bolster some key building blocks, such as post-secondary education. To help pay for this, Mr. McGuinty raised the corporate tax -- to 14% from 12% --in his first budget. "The balance of [McGuinty's] approach was not quite right," said Jack Mintz, public policy professor at the University of Calgary and renowned tax expert. "The problem was trying to [reinvest in public services] while at the same time trying to maintain a vibrant industrial sector." Mr. Mintz and other analysts say Ontario's tax regime, as currently structured, is suffocating the province's ability to attract investment and rebuild the economy. Last year, Jim Flaherty, the federal Finance Minister, suggested the tax system was making Ontario the "last place" businesses wanted to invest. Mr. Flaherty took lots of heat for that remark, but he was on to something. Mr. Mintz's research indicates the province's marginal effective tax rate on capital, which encompasses all levies slapped on investment in the province, stands at 35%, six points higher than the Canadian average, 29%. Further, the Ontario rate ranks as the ninth-highest in the world, tied with Japan. Despite moves to eliminate capital tax in 2010, and other business tax reductions from the federal government, Ontario's marginal rate is expected to drop only three points to 32% by 2012 -- still higher than all provinces and exceeding the national average. "Ontario will not be successful in retaining existing businesses and attracting new ones if its taxation system is not on sound competitive footing with other provinces and countries," said the TD report by Messrs. Burleton and Drummond. There are signs that Mr. McGuinty is acknowledging the need to change. Despite previous opposition, he said in January the province would take a "long, hard look" at harmonizing its provincial sales tax with the GST. As currently structured, Ontario's sales tax derives almost half of its revenue from taxing business inputs such as productivity-enhancingequipment. Harmonizing with the GST would shift the tax burden to households, but economists argue it would boost business investment and make Ontario more attractive. In a C. D. Howe research paper he released yesterday, Mr. Poschmann said putting an end to the "archaic" sales tax and harmonizing with the GST would move Ontario from a high-tax jurisdiction to a medium-tax jurisdiction by 2012, with the marginal rate on investment falling just over 10 percentage points. A signal toward sales tax harmonization could be contained in Thursday's budget, although observers are hedging their bets given the potential voter backlash. Any further moves on taxation, whether business or personal, may have to wait given the province's monster deficit and an unwillingness to give up further revenue to fund public service initiatives. "Ontario is going to be deeply challenged," Mr. Mintz said, "because it is going to be very hard for the government to do anything when you are so fiscally restrained-- unless it wants to make the deficit even bigger now." Glen Hodgson, senior vice-president and chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada, said the needed tax reductions would not see the light of day until Ontario decides what to do about health-care spending, which is growing at an annual clip of 8% to 10% and is the single biggest expense item in the budget. "This is a catalytic moment for the province," Mr. Hodgson said. "The light bulb has gone on, but it is not burning brightly yet. A lot of people would like to return to the Old World. But I think the Old World is gone -and that's the dilemma Ontario faces." --------- MANITOBA, N.B. SET EXAMPLE: As Ontario attempts to pull itself out of its economic quagmire, it can look to the provinces of Manitoba and New Brunswick for leadership. While the recession is expected to hit every province, Manitoba comes out near the top in most forecasts as one of the country's better performers in 2009. In its outlook, the Conference Board of Canada projects slight growth in the province of 1%, powered by infrastructure projects and tax cuts. Jack Mintz, public policy professor at the University of Calgary, said Manitoba was, along with Ontario, considered a high-tax jurisdiction for business investment. But the government has moved and Manitoba's marginal effective tax rate on investment dropped from 37% in 2007 to 33.8% last year. It is now scheduled to fall to 26.7% by 2012. "It is on the high side, but it will be closer to the national average" in 2012,Mr. Mintz said. "From the point of view of people who need to make investment decisions now, they know these changes are in place over the next several years. So Manitoba looks more appealing." Manitoba also benefits from having one of the most diversified economies in Canada. Roughly 30% of its economy is agriculture, which is more resilient to economic downturns. Further, Manitoba has a diversified manufacturing base with aerospace and buses playing key roles - and, unlike autos, demand for those products continues to be fairly solid. It also has abundant, cheap hydroelectricity. In contrast, questions abound over the reliability of Ontario's power grid, especially in light of the 2003 blackout that blanketed the province and much of the U.S. northeast. Meanwhile, analysts have applauded New Brunswick for taking aggressive steps on taxation this week in an effort to make the province more attractive for both investors and workers. The main change is the replacement of the existing four-bracket personal income tax structure to a simpler two-bracket structure by 2012. The lowest rate will be 9% for workers earning less than $37,893. Beyond that threshold, a flat tax of 12% will be applied. Perhaps more stunning, however, is that New Brunswick plans to lower its general corporate tax rate from 13% to 12%, effective this year, and all the way down to 8% by 2012 - the lowest in the country. "The New Brunswick government appears to be relatively more proactive compared to other jurisdictions, taking bolder steps to improve its economic and fiscal roadmap," said Carlos Leitao, chief economist at Laurentian Bank Securities, in his analysis of the province's budget. Source: Paul Vieira, Financial Post [email protected] ONE-TIME POWERHOUSE CAN'T KEEP UP WITH REST OF THE COUNTRY: Ont. Export Receipt Drop 11.7% Que. Export Receipt Drop 2.9% Receipt Rise Rest Of Canada 72% Ontario GDP Decline, 2009 2.9% RANKS OF WORKERS IN CANADA'S LARGEST PROVINCE TAKE IT ON THE CHIN: Ontario Unemployment 8.7% U.S. Unemployment 8.1% Quebec Unemployment 7.8% Ontario Unemployment, 2010 10% © Copyright © National Post
  9. Un très bon article du G&M ce matin sur la "résilience" de l'économie québécoise: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/few-bumps-in-la-belle-provinces-recession-ride/article1240146/ Few bumps in la belle province's recession ride At Sandoz Canada Inc. in Boucherville, Que., sales are rising and the work force is growing. The generic pharmaceutical producer's growth is more subdued than usual, to be sure. But this isn't the picture of a company struggling through a recession. And so goes Quebec, where the global slump has caused discomfort but not intense pain. The province's economy is contracting, but at nowhere near the pace of devastation as in other parts of Canada. This milder recession is seen in the job market, where employment has fallen just 0.7 per cent in the past year. And in the real estate market, where prices are stable. And at Sandoz, where revenue has climbed more than 10 per cent in the past year. “We've seen, over all, still some growth. And we've done some limited hiring,” said Pierre Fréchette, chief executive officer of the company, which opened a new factory in Boucherville last year. “We've been pretty sheltered from the situation outside of Canada, and outside Quebec.” For the country's second most populous province, it could have been a lot worse, even though the global crisis has struck hard at manufacturing and exports – two areas core to Quebec's economy. Thanks to export diversification, a real estate market that didn't overheat and sheer luck, the province that makes up 20 per cent of Canada's economic heft has fared much better than in past recessions. “The main industries of Quebec are not in restructuring mode. This is just a cyclical downturn,” said Sébastien Lavoie, economist at Laurentian Bank of Canada in Montreal. The most obvious example of the mild nature of the recession in Quebec is in the labour market. The 0.7-per-cent drop in employment in the past year compares with a 1.8-per-cent contraction nationally, and much larger declines in the other major provinces. Compared with previous recessions, Quebec workers have had it easy this time. The 1990s recession cut the provincial work force by 2.9 per cent, while the 1980s recession destroyed 7.4 per cent of jobs. Quebec's unemployment rate, now 8.8 per cent, is slightly above the national average (8.6 per cent), which is usual. But it is significantly below Ontario's 9.6 per cent. And most of Ontario's job losses have been full-time positions, while Quebec's are mainly part-time. Overall growth in Quebec contracted sharply in the first quarter, but, again, not as sharply as the country as a whole, nor as Ontario in particular. Indeed, Quebec's growth has outpaced Ontario since 2006 – a trend that is expected to persist into next year, and something that has not happened in decades. While Ontario and Quebec are often lumped together and characterized, fairly, as Canada's manufacturing heartland, the structure of Quebec's manufacturing sector has changed dramatically since the previous recession, analysts say. “Quebec has gone through a transformation,” said John Baldwin, director of the economic analysis division at Statistics Canada and one of Canada's top authorities on productivity. Free trade with the United States encouraged all of North America to shift from the manufacturing of non-durable goods to durable goods, to take advantage of economies of scale and growing global markets, according to a new paper by Mr. Baldwin. But Ontario's manufacturing and exports had always been concentrated in durable manufacturing – steel, cars, machinery and equipment. Quebec, on the other hand, was the centre of non-durable manufacturing for Canada, with its textiles and shoes. During the 1990s and especially in the past decade, Mr. Baldwin said, Quebec switched over, but expanded into areas where Ontario was not as dominant – aerospace and pharmaceuticals. Quebec had a painful adjustment, scaling back its textile sector and shutting down large parts of its pulp and paper industry in the past decade. But that restructuring is largely over, economists say. In this recession, like recessions of the past, manufacturing has suffered more than other sectors. But since Quebec does not have Ontario's dependence on U.S. consumption of cars, and is not as dependent on energy exports as the West, it has not been as vulnerable. About a third of Quebec's gross domestic product comes from exports, and 75 per cent of those exports go to the United States. But the U.S. market is far more important for Ontario because 42 per cent of the province's GDP comes from exports, and 84 per cent of its exports are sold to Americans. Sales of cars, mainly from Ontario, are down about 40 per cent so far this year. Quebec's aerospace sector has faltered too, recently, but not to the same extent. “We are not in the same situation as the auto sector,” said Joëlle Noreau, senior economist at Desjardins Group. But Quebec's recession is mild not simply because it avoided the crisis in the auto sector. It's also because export volumes have surged in other areas, especially in the pharmaceutical industry, rising 80 per cent so far this year from 2008. Most of that growth comes from generic drug companies taking advantage of expiring patents – a cycle that is not at all related to the global crisis, said Mr. Fréchette at Sandoz. “Obviously, we see pressure on our margins,” he said in an interview. “But our business is driven by very specific events. In general, the prospects are good.” While economists say they are tempted to point to clever business strategies and forward-thinking industrial policies as explanations for Quebec's mild recession, they are quick to say plain luck is a major factor, too. “We were blessed,” Ms. Noreau says. As Quebec's roads and bridges fell into disrepair a few years ago, the provincial government responded by investing heavily in infrastructure. Well before the recession started, the government earmarked $42-billion, or 14 per cent of GDP, for a five-year building plan. While other provinces are preparing to spend heavily, too, in a bid to fight off recession, Quebec's plan has already kicked into high gear, she said. Luck is also behind the stability in the housing market, said Marc Pinsonneault, senior economist at National Bank Financial. The prerecession runup in house prices was not nearly as notable in Quebec as in the West and Ontario, he said, so there was no bubble that needed bursting. Stable housing prices have meant that the net worth of many Quebeckers has not plunged as much as elsewhere, a trend that has added strength to the domestic side of the province's economy, Mr. Pinsonneault added. There are, of course, real fears that Quebec's luck could run out. The aerospace sector has stumbled in the past couple of months, and orders are drying up. Aerospace accounts for about a quarter of the province's exports, but sales typically respond to turns in the economy with an 18-month lag, said Jean-Michel Laurin, economist at the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters. Already, Bell Helicopter, a division of U.S.-based Textron Inc., announced 150 layoffs in July at its Montreal-area plant, linked to sagging demand for its products. In the refinery sector, Mr. Laurin adds, Royal Dutch Shell has warned that it could shut down its Montreal refinery that employs 550 people. The pharmaceutical industry will no doubt come under pressure as indebted governments around the world are pressured to cut health care costs in the coming years, to get their deficits under control. And the strong Canadian dollar is adding yet another burden to exporters' lists of problems, Mr. Laurin said. “Regardless of where you go in Quebec or Ontario, we're all very dependent on the U.S.”
  10. Le Canada gagne 35 900 emplois en avril Publié le 08 mai 2009 à 08h06 | Mis à jour à 08h09 Agence France-Presse Ottawa Le Canada a gagné 35 900 emplois en avril, de façon inattendue, essentiellement grâce aux travailleurs indépendants, tandis que le taux de chômage se maintenait à 8%, son niveau le plus élevé en sept ans, a annoncé vendredi l'institut de la statistique. Les analystes s'attendaient à une perte de quelque 50 000 emplois en avril après une saignée de 61 000 le mois précédent et à ce que le taux de chômage passe à 8,2%. Ce taux est resté inchangé à 8,0 % en avril par rapport à mars, car la hausse de l'emploi a coïncidé avec une croissance de la population active, note Statistique Canada. Malgré l'augmentation enregistrée en avril, 321 000 emplois ont été perdus au Canada depuis octobre 2008. En avril, le nombre de travailleurs indépendants a cru de 37 000, indique Statistique Canada dans un communiqué, précisant que 39 000 emplois à temps plein ont été créés, alors que 3600 emplois à temps partiel étaient perdus. Le secteur manufacturier, durement frappé par la crise, a gagné 6 700 postes en avril, mais il en a perdu 106 300 au cours des 12 derniers mois. La hausse de l'emploi en avril s'est manifestée pour l'essentiel dans les provinces du Québec (+22 000) et de Colombie-Britannique (+17 000). En avril le salaire horaire moyen avait progressé de 4,3% par rapport au même mois l'an dernier. __________________________________________________________________________________________ Canada adds 36,000 jobs HEATHER SCOFFIELD Globe and Mail Update May 8, 2009 at 8:13 AM EDT OTTAWA — The Canadian work force managed to grow slightly in April, adding 36,000 positions, mainly through self-employment, Statistics Canada said Friday. As a result, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 8 per cent last month, the highest in seven years. “This is a better-than-expected report that no one saw coming,” said economists at ScotiaCapital Inc. “Yes, there were distortions including the heavy influence of a gain in self-employment that we mistrust at this point in the cycle. But the losses elsewhere were much less significant than feared.” The unexpected gain in employment sent the dollar up by 0.93 cent (U.S.) against the U.S currency. Economists had been expecting the pace of job loss to let up a little bit in April after months of steep decline, forecasting the elimination of 50,000 positions compared to 61,000 in March. They had predicted an 8.3 per cent unemployment rate, up from 8 per cent in March. While economists expect self-employment to expand during a recession, as laid-off workers create opportunities of their own, the increase in April was substantial. About 37,000 new self-employed positions were added to the work force, accounting for well over half of the 61,800 increase in self-employment over the past year. Jobs among people employed by others, on the other hand, fell a statistically insignificant 1,100 positions. Stabilization was also evident in the sectors that have shed the most jobs during the recession – manufacturing and construction. Employment in both those categories was changed very little in April, with construction employment declining 7,500 jobs and manufacturing employment growing 6,700 positions. In the goods side of the economy overall, employment barely budged in April, but has declined by a sharp 6.3 per cent since last October. The services side of the economy, which has been less touched by the recession, added 35,100 positions in April, particularly in the information sector and in culture and recreation. Since October, when the labour market began to slide, employment economy-wide has fallen by 321,000 positions. That's a decline of 1.9 per cent, with the losses concentrated in constructing, manufacturing and natural resources. Full-time employment rose by 39,000 positions in April, while part-time was little changed. However, full-time employment is still down 2.5 per cent since October. By region, employment rose in both Quebec and British Columbia. Quebec gained 22,000 positions, but because more people joined the work force, its unemployment rate rose to 8.4 per cent, from 8.3 per cent in March. British Columbia added 17,000 jobs, and its unemployment rate stayed still at 7.4 per cent. Still, the gains don't come close to making up for losses in the previous months. Ontario, where job losses have been severe, managed to stabilize in April, shedding 3,000 positions. Its unemployment rate stayed stable at 8.7 per cent. Ontario's job losses account for half of the country's total decline since October. By demographic, the April employment gains went mainly to adult men, and to women over the age of 55. Economists were surprised by the job creation, even though some indicators have suggested lately that the Canadian economy was showing signs of life. They warned that the job creation probably wouldn't last, since the all-important auto and manufacturing sectors are poised to cut severely in coming months, and because mothballed natural resource projects aren't about to roar back to life. Economists are often skeptical of self-employment numbers because they suspect that respondents to Statistics Canada's survey of households would rather say they're working for themselves than admit to being unemployed. Plus, many self-employed people earn considerably less than employed people. “That said, we can't dismiss the headline because of dubious self-employment gains, as there were only 1,100 job losses beyond the self-employment component,” the Scotia economists said. The labour report was undeniably good news, agreed Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Nesbitt Burns. “Now that's what I would call a green shoot,” he said. Still, he warned against getting too carried away. “While quite encouraging, it's important to recall that head fakes are always possible,” he said. During the darkest days of the recession of the early 1990s, for example, Canadian employment managed to rise in five separate months. “Still, this marks a huge improvement from the wicked job losses seen over the winter, and is yet another strong signal that the economy may be approaching bottom – certainly sooner than most forecasters believed possible just a few weeks ago.” Indeed, there are a growing number of signs that the free-fall that inflicted the Canadian economy at the end of last year and the beginning of this year began to let up in February and March. Auto and housing sales have picked up, the drop in exports slowed, manufacturing output stopped plunging and financial markets showed signs of recovery.
  11. 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.
  12. Ontario's economic engine sputters RICHARD FOOT, Canwest News Service Published: 7 hours ago As Canada's industrial heartland struggles with a reeling automotive sector, high dollar and foreign competition, innovative value-added manufacturers - like Kitchener's Christie Digital - have found a way to thrive in the global economy When Barack Obama accepts his party's nomination for the U.S. presidency at the Democratic convention in Denver next month, his image will be displayed on giant screens at Mile High Stadium by digital projectors made in Kitchener, Ont. Christie Digital's projectors - highly engineered cubes of optical technology that sell from $20,000 to $100,000 apiece - also have been used at the Academy Awards, and are exported from Canada to cinema chains around the world as movie theatres discard their traditional projectors in favour of new digital equipment. Christie and its 400 employees are a manufacturing success story in a province, and a country, where factories are closing and Canadian-made products are steadily being killed off by foreign competition, a high dollar, soaring energy costs and a stagnant U.S. economy. "These are anxious times," Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty declared during an economic speech in May. Ontario's most severe manufacturing losses have come from the auto sector, which once fuelled the province's economic wealth but has shed more than 25,000 jobs over the past five years, according to the Canadian Auto Workers union. This summer, in particular, has brought an avalanche of bad news for the cities across southern Ontario whose fortunes are tied to those of the big North American automakers and their suppliers: S Three thousand jobs cut at General Motors' plants in both Windsor and Oshawa. S Two thousand jobs cut at Progressive Moulded Products plants near Toronto. S Another 400 jobs lost at the Magna International plant in St. Thomas and 720 at the city's Sterling Trucks. As the Ontario economy bleeds, Canada's resource-rich provinces - including two traditional have-not players, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland - are growing rich off the global commodities boom and surging exports of oil, potash, uranium and grain. Consider their sudden affluence relative to Ontario: In 2002, according to the TD Bank, Ontario had Canada's second- highest nominal GDP per capita, after Alberta, including a seven-per-cent advantage over the national average. By 2007, Ontario's per capita GDP had dropped to fourth among the provinces and was two per cent below the national average. This year, it's expected to fall to four per cent below the average. The TD Bank also predicts Ontario could become an equalization-receiving province as early as 2010. Despite the hardships facing the Ontario economy, there are enclaves of economic strength and good news, where innovative companies such as Christie Digital offer a way forward for manufacturers and resource-rich economies as well. "Selling resources during a commodities boom is great while it lasts," said Ihor Stech, vice-president (operations) at Christie. "But we need to be more intelligent about how we use our resources. Selling more value-added products would create a more permanent, global force out of our economy." Stech works at an old factory in the heart of Kitchener that was once filled with low-skilled workers churning out small electric motors, television sets and other consumer appliances for Electrohome, once one of Canada's most famous companies. While the Electrohome name still hangs on the outside of the building, and company CEO John Pollock keeps an office inside, globalization and low-wage Asian competition have pushed it to the sidelines. Pollock, whose grandfather founded the firm 100 years ago, is winding up Electrohome's affairs. "I have three employees today," he said, "compared to 4,300 in the 1980s." In 1999, Electrohome was a major player in the commercial-projection business, but lacked the cash necessary to purchase new technology, update its assembly line system and compete in the emerging digital-projection market. Rather than watch the business die a slow death, Pollock sold the projection arm, one of Electrohome's last operations, to U.S.-based Christie Digital, whose Japanese parent, Ushio Inc., had the deep pockets to renovate the Kitchener plant and pursue the necessary technology that would allow the operation to survive. "At the time (of the sale), this factory was very tired," Stech said. "It was a dark place - an old, historical building that required a lot of investment. The infrastructure of the plant is now almost completely changed." Today, the inside looks more like a modern surgical unit than a manufacturing plant. Workers in lab coats, hair nets and slippers circulate quietly around the clinically clean, brightly lit assembly floor, where high-tech projectors are pieced together by technicians following blueprints on computer screens. While a high school certificate was enough for most of Electrohome's former workers, many of Christie's employees have college diplomas in electronics, material sciences, plastics and optics. The company also employs 150 engineers on site, who design the projectors and discuss technical changes directly with the production staff. In the eight years since Christie took over, sales at the Kitchener plant have grown from roughly $100 million a year to $280 million and are expected to rise as markets for the company's product continue to expand. Christie's successful formula - a sophisticated, high-end product on the cutting edge of technology, built by a relatively small but well educated workforce - cannot be easily duplicated in the low-cost industrial factories of China or India, a fact that insulates Christie somewhat from cheap overseas competition. It's a business strategy shared by a handful of other thriving, high-tech manufacturers in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, including Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry wireless device. David Johnston, president of the University of Waterloo, which supplies many of the young engineers at both companies and fosters a climate of innovation in the local business community, said manufacturers can thrive in Canada in the face of overwhelming global pressures, as long as they remember the lessons of RIM and Christie: relentless innovation and investment, plus a focus on technology as a path to prosperity. "It's not just a challenge for manufacturing centres like Ontario, but for the whole country," Johnston said. "Resource booms come and go. Even in provinces like Saskatchewan, Alberta and Newfoundland, we have to work smarter." Said John Pollock: "The products made in our future factories will require little labour, but they will also require sophisticated components and be assembled in very sophisticated ways. The technology will make it successful, as opposed to low labour rates." Stech agrees that brains and technology are the keys to surviving low-wage foreign competition, but said competing merely with the developing world is not enough. "The threat from low-cost countries is only half the story. Canada also needs to be mindful of competition from countries just like us. A lot of our competitors come from Japan and Norway - not exactly the cheapest markets. "Is Canada really prepared to succeed against the most developed countries? I think we have a long way to go, specifically in terms of government policies." For example, Stech said southern Ontario's transportation infrastructure pales in comparison to what's available in Europe or Japan. He said a fellow executive at Christie's parent company in Japan, who lives in Kobe and works in Osaka, commutes by train every morning, working on his email or catching up on the newspaper, "and comes into the office fully prepared for his day." Stech, who lives in Mississauga and commutes a similar distance each morning, faces only one choice, an hour-long drive on a crowded highway. Stech said Canada's manufacturing heartland is undergoing a similar process of change and adaptation that shook England during the industrial revolution. "Steam engines were putting people out of work, and people said it's the end of living standards because no one will be able to make money. Well, that didn't happen," he said. "Industries and labour reapplied themselves to new technologies. "I believe we are going through that same stage as well. The key to industry in Canada is to keep in mind that we are competing on all fronts - against cheap-labour countries, but also against higher-labour-cost countries, developed countries with secure infrastructure. We need to be mindful of that competition as well."
  13. Malek

    Buffalo

    Upstate New York cities Back in business Hope grows in two cities more accustomed to disappointment Jun 30th 2012 | BUFFALO AND ROCHESTER | from the print edition THERE is an eerie beauty to Buffalo’s waterfront. Long-abandoned buildings and unused grain elevators stand along Lake Erie’s shore. General Mills is one of the few companies that still use it—the smell of Cheerios, a breakfast cereal, permeates the air. But newer life is springing up, too. Part of the harbour, near the centre of city, has been redeveloped as a 6.5-acre (2.6-hectare) spread of parks and monuments. Twenty-one more acres of harbour land will become shops and residential space with more development to come. Main Street, most of which was closed to traffic for three decades, is being opened up and will eventually connect the centre of town to the river. One of the newest additions to the city skyline, which is known for architectural gems, is the $300m ten-storey Gates Vascular Institute/Clinical and Translational Research Centre. Things are changing for the second-biggest city in New York state. Manufacturing in upstate New York has been declining since the 1940s. Buffalo, with its access to the Great Lakes and the St Lawrence seaway, was once an economic engine, not just for the region, but for the country. But when manufacturing began to leave, with the steel industry worst affected, the city was, until very recently, unable to cope. Some 30% of the city’s population now lives below the poverty line. Buffalo is the third-poorest big city in the country; only Detroit and Cleveland are in worse shape. The population has shrunk, while the urbanised sprawl beyond the city borders tripled between 1950 and 2000. Sprawl without growth is not helpful: it leaves too few taxpayers to support local government and infrastructure. The city, like many in the rustbelt, has vast amounts of abandoned property, more than any city except Detroit and New Orleans. Yet despite these problems, Bruce Katz, of the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, says he is bullish on Buffalo. He believes the city can lead the next economic wave, one driven by advanced manufacturing, innovation and exports and powered by low carbon. Rochester, which is about 75 miles east of Buffalo, also missed the boom times. Thirty years ago, Kodak, Xerox and Bausch & Lomb employed around 60% of the region’s workforce. In 1982 Kodak, which is headquartered in Rochester, had 60,400 employees. Today it has around 5,000 and has filed for bankruptcy protection. The population of the city fell from a peak of 332,000 in 1950 to 210,600 in 2010. Almost a third of those who remain are poor. Kodak’s bankruptcy filing, in January, did not devastate Rochester only because the Kodak jobs had long left. The impact was more psychological than anything else. Most residents seem to have a grandfather who once worked at Kodak, but its effect is no longer as strong. Nowadays, much has changed. Virtually all of the workforce is employed by companies of 100 employees or fewer, according to the Greater Rochester Enterprise, a public-private outfit which markets the city to businesses. The city leads the state in job growth since the end of the recession, recovering 98% of the jobs it lost then. Indeed, there are roughly 100,000 more jobs now than there were three decades ago. The Kodak name is still a draw. Monroe Community College will move into the old Kodak complex on State Street. Companies like ITT Exelis, which developed software used by Google Earth, have also taken space in old Kodak buildings. Economic diversity helped, too. Rochester has more than 100 food and drink companies, including Wegmans, a supermarket chain and the region’s second-biggest employer. The University of Rochester is the biggest, with an economic impact of $143m in sales tax, income tax and property taxes. Five of the top ten private-sector employers in the Finger Lakes region, where Rochester lies, are in higher education and health care. Higher education is also a big employer in Buffalo; the University at Buffalo is the second-biggest employer. It has been moving its medical centre downtown, and changing a whole neighbourhood as it does so. Howard Zemsky, a local businessman, has had a similar impact. A decade ago he began to redevelop one of the city’s oldest industrial areas, known as the Hydraulics district. Today, around 30 dilapidated or abandoned sites have been transformed into an office and residential space called the Larkin District. Even an old petrol station has been converted into a retro restaurant. Groups such as Partnership for the Public Good are working together to make vacant plots into community gardens. The Centre for Urban Studies at the University at Buffalo and the city’s housing authority are combining to help a neighbourhood in need. Collaboration is essential, says Byron Brown, Buffalo’s mayor. “Right people! Right place! Right time!” And timing and place are both part of the reason that Andrew Cuomo, the governor, pledged $1 billion earlier this year to help revive the economy of Buffalo and western New York state. Mr Katz is helping the region develop a plan to use that $1 billion effectively. “This is about the long term,” he says. “It will be the gift that keeps on giving.” http://www.economist.com/node/21557797
  14. Montreal is approaching 2011 at full speed August 25, 2010 - John Clinkard (Market Insights) As Montreal heads into the second half of 2010, it’s clear that the city must be doing something right. For the past seven months it has consistently exhibited stronger year-over-year job growth than all but two of the 10 largest metro areas in the country. Job growth has been particularly strong in wholesale and retail trade (+35,200), followed by finance insurance and real estate (+25,800); health services (+17,900); construction (+17,200); accommodation and food services (+10,600); and professional and technical services (+10,200). This strong pattern of employment growth, accompanied by low interest rates and sustained net migration, has helped to underpin housing demand in Montreal. According to the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board, sales of existing homes are up by 10% year to date, and median single family house prices ($258,000) are up by 5% year over year. Demand for new housing is also strong, reflected by a 32% year-to-date increase in housing starts and a 48% year-to-date rise in residential building permits over the first six months of the year. As is the case across much of the country, the combination of dissipating pent-up demand and deteriorating affordability is causing housing demand in Montreal to cool. But the strong year-to-date increase in residential permits should sustain new residential construction into 2011. While the pace of residential construction appears to be down-shifting, the outlook for both industrial and commercial construction is quite strong. According to CB Richard Ellis, a gradual increase in manufacturing demand has caused the industrial availability rates in the Greater Montreal Area (GMA) to decline by 40 per cent since the end of 2009. Reflecting this stronger pace of manufacturing activity, the value of industrial building permits has picked up since the beginning of the year and is now +73% year to date in June. Also, despite relatively high office vacancy rates in the GMA, it appears that stronger retail and office-based employment growth is contributing to a turnaround in commercial construction, reflected by an 8% year-to-date increase in commercial building permits. http://www.reedconstructiondata.com/news/2010/08/montreal-is-approaching-2011-at-full-speed/