Unskilled workers are suddenly back in vogue

Employers are now actively looking for unskilled workers - those with the skills that don't require a post-secondary education

Unskilled workers are suddenly back in vogueTwo unusual changes are emerging in demographics and the demand for workers. Our population is aging and birth rates in Canada have been hovering below the replacement level of about two kids per woman since the mid-1960s. Death rates have been dropping steadily for all age groups, giving us a longer-living, older population. In the…

Small business not so small after all

98% of us work for small or medium firms

Small business not so small after allOctober was Small Business Month. Did you notice? If you checked the business media, you probably found some upbeat stories with pictures of bright young people who had started a little business and were now offering food services, tech support or e-tail to their community or, more broadly, electronically. Everything was upbeat. Growth and success…

New TPP trade deal offers huge long-term gain

Freer trade under the TPP will lower tariffs barriers, open up new markets, and provide new customers to Canadian producers

New TPP trade deal offers huge long-term gainMany words have been shared on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, a lot of them negative. This may be, as the French say, a lot of noise for an omelet. First, the TPP agreement is far from certain. It has to be ratified by the legislatures of 12 countries, many of which have political leaders…

Staying healthy key to meeting aging population challenge

A smaller share of workers in a society generally means less production and slower growth

Staying healthy key to meeting aging population challengeGetting older is better than the alternative. Beyond that, it is hard to find the benefits of aging, either individually or collectively. Society is getting older, even in China, a possibly unforeseen result of its one child policy. From an economic point of view, a major cost of an aging population is a high, rising…

Canada can play hardball on softwood

Strong demand and reduced supply is pushing up the price of lumber

Canada can play hardball on softwoodFor the last half of the 20th century, one could easily and accurately predict conditions in the British Columbia economy using just one number. That number was U.S. housing starts. The dividing line was 1.6 million starts per year. At this level or higher, the softwood-lumber driven B.C. economy was doing very well, thank you.…

Canada’s political parties economically illiterate

A simple cost/benefit analysis would kibosh many of their proposals

Canada’s political parties economically illiterateOne thing for sure in the 2015 federal election – we can’t say that we don’t have enough time to consider the issues. Unfortunately, it is still not easy. Politicians have the habit of adjusting their positions as the campaign moves on. Issues are complex and may not always seem consistent. The NDP just removed…

Housing costs driving youth out of Vancouver

The young and the mobile are exercising their right to just leave

Housing costs driving youth out of VancouverSigns of the end of summer are beginning to appear, and with it the back to school sales are starting. Most retailers are forecasting that the back-to-school season will be better than in 2014. However, beside the Back to School sale signs are more Help Wanted signs –not only in retail stores but also in…

Quebec an easy back door to Canada for immigrant investors

The old rules under the defunct Immigrant Investor Program still apply in Quebec

Quebec an easy back door to Canada for immigrant investorsAs proud and happy Canadians, many of us get upset when we think that our government is selling Canadian citizenship cheaply. The now defunct federal Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) was selling Canadian citizenship very cheaply. Individuals with a net worth of $1.6 million (all figures are in Canadian dollars) who were willing to lend $800,000…

Overtime a relic from old economic order

The traditional employees' share of the workforce is falling as more and more people work part time, part year, on contract or as self-employed

Overtime a relic from old economic orderEvery generation thinks that the music of their youth is where it’s at. We select our listening channels by the decades in which we grow up. I had an old aunt who learned to dance in the era of Latin music – rumbas and sambas. That was real music for her and she spent her…

Upgrading skills vital for future employment

Opportunities for unskilled and lower skilled workers are fast disappearing

Upgrading skills vital for future employmentWe have an economy to provide a good living for people. Unfortunately, for many Canadians, our economy is not doing its job. Income, and especially wealth, are unequally distributed. Too many people don’t have enough work, are poorly paid or have no work at all. There is a growing gap between what many potential workers…