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Volume 14, Issue 26, July 9, 2014

Inside This Issue:

• Register Now for CHHMA Negotiating Seminar (August 20) with Michael Sloopka
• Deadline for CHHMA Scholarship Program Next Week – July 15
• Still Time to Register for CHHMA’s Go Kart Night in Montreal – July 17
• Canada’s Anti-Spam Law is Ludicrous Regulatory Overkill
• Slow Growth Hinders Canada’s Retail Home Improvement Industry
• Industry Saddened to Hear of Tom Ross’s Passing
• 7 Excellent Ways to Start a Presentation and Capture Your Audience’s Attention
• Canadian Housing Starts Rise Unexpectedly in June
• Building Permits in Canada Jump 13.8% in May
• Canadian Companies Remain Upbeat, But Enthusiasm Has Waned: BoC
• Canadian Jobs Picture to Remain Ugly Everywhere East of Manitoba: TD
• TD Predicts 5 to 6% Rise in Canadian Home Prices; Tougher Time Trading Up From Condo to House
• U.S. Employers Advertise Most Job Openings in 7 Years in May

Association News

Register Now for CHHMA Negotiating Seminar (August 20) with Michael Sloopka  

Due to the number of requests from the attendees at our Spring Conference, we are pleased to be bringing back Michael Sloopka, The Negotiating Coach, to Toronto for a 1/2 day seminar on August 20, 2014.

Michael has taught many of your customers how to Negotiate! Learn the right techniques from the expert!

The Secrets of Power Negotiating® half-day seminar is ideal for members of organizations who want to increase their broad knowledge of the negotiating process and methodology, as well as learn a few of the basic strategies and tactics. Members of your organization will start to become more confident and knowledgeable in any negotiating situation after attending the half-day seminar.

Register soon, only 25 Spots available!
What Attendees Will Learn From Attending a Half-Day Seminar:

- Learn a proven and powerful negotiating process and methodology.
- Be able to effectively prepare and plan for all negotiations.
- Understand the three critical stages of every negotiation.
- Learn the three key factors that influence every negotiation.
- Learn one or two of the key negotiating gambits and corresponding countergambits.
- Read about the five things you need to know about negotiating.
- Read about the five characteristics that make a good negotiator.
- Learn several powerful negotiating tips, techniques, and phrases that will save attendees thousands of dollars, improve their negotiating effectiveness, and optimize results.

Event details:

Date: Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Time: Registration & Breakfast: 7:30 a.m.
           Presentation: 8:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
           Coffee Break: 10:30 a.m.
Cost: $299.00 + $29.95 for course material + $42.76 HST = $371.71 total
Location: Toronto Airport area to be advised

To register online, go to:

Deadline for CHHMA Scholarship Program Next Week - July 15

The CHHMA is once again pleased to be able to offer the opportunity for children of employees of our member companies to apply for a scholarship to help offset the cost of post-secondary education. The Association recognizes the importance of education and therefore encourages children of our member companies to attend University or College. Five or six scholarships are awarded each year. Successful candidates receive $1,000 CDN per year for the first two years of study leading to a diploma or degree from an accredited community college or university.

The scholarship program is available to the dependents of any current full-time employees of the CHHMA or member companies. The program is only offered to Canadian companies or divisions of companies based in Canada which are members of the CHHMA. The member company must remain a member in good standing in order for the student to qualify for the second year of the scholarship. The student's parent or guardian must be an active full-time employee with at least one year seniority with the CHHMA or member company as of July 15th in the year of application. Applicants must be preparing to enter an accredited community college or university in the fall term, and attain a minimum average of 75% in the last year of high school (or CEGEP). The decision of the Selection Committee and the CHHMA is final and not open to appeals. The CHHMA reserves the right to withdraw a scholarship should the student's parent(s) or guardian(s) voluntarily leave the employment of the CHHMA or member company, or if employment is terminated for just cause prior to the start of the school year, or if the company terminates its membership in the Association.

Complete details and application forms can be found at

The CHHMA must receive applications from potential candidates no later than July 15th.

Since 2001, the CHHMA has awarded $140,000 towards scholarships and some 70 young people have benefited from the scholarship program.   

Still Time to Register for CHHMA’s Go Kart Night in Montreal – July 17   
Next Thursday, July 17, CHHMA’s Soirée Karting/Go Kart Night is taking place at the Circuit ICAR motorsports complex (, located 20 minutes north of Montreal in Mirabel, Quebec.

The Go Kart racing will take place on an outside 1 km long track designed by 1997 F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve, where karts can reach speeds of up to 65 km/h. 

The event will include a cold buffet served in the clubhouse (5:00 p.m.) prior to the racing competition which will start at 6:30 p.m. The competition will be a team format so register a team foursome (work colleagues, customers) and enjoy a fun night out with your industry peers. Individuals not registering as a foursome will be assigned to teams. The event is limited to 40 persons.

So let’s see if you are the best race car driver in the industry – a F1 career may be waiting!

For all the details and to register, go to:


Government & Legislative News 

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law is Ludicrous Regulatory Overkill  

(Article by Margaret Wente, The Globe and Mail)

Rachel Wainwright runs a yoga studio in Vancouver. You wouldn’t think she has much in common with the people who urgently want to send you $36-million from Swaziland. But according to the wise people who watch over us, both of them must be stopped from sending us those unwanted e-mails that clutter up our inboxes and wreck our lives.

Under Canada’s new anti-spam legislation, Ms. Wainwright (and everybody else who sends e-mail) must now comply with a sweeping law that prohibits any commercial electronic messages sent without the recipient’s permission. The law’s intent – to banish spam from Canada – is entirely admirable. And people like Ms. Wainwright, who spoke about the matter recently with the CBC, are entirely eager to comply. But that’s not so easy.

“The legislation is written in a way that is unclear to a lot of us,” Kimberley Cunnington-Taylor, an Ottawa lawyer who advises charities and non-profit groups on the new law, told me. “It is very complicated and difficult to understand, even with legal training.”

Yoga studio owners are among the millions of of small-businesses, charities and even (I’m not kidding) hockey moms who now have to worry about running afoul of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. The anti-spam law is a ludicrous example of regulatory overkill. It hurts folks who, by any reasonable definition, aren’t spamming anyone at all. And it won’t touch the real offenders, such as those responsible for the estimated 98 per cent of our spam that originates outside Canada.

The law doesn’t even define spam or mass messaging. It simply refers to messages sent for any commercial purpose, even if a message goes to only one person, with no intent to deceive. The definitions of both “commercial” and “consent” are also exceedingly broad and vague. Take Ms. Wainwright’s yoga business. If she e-mails a client to remind her that she’s entitled to two more lessons before her membership runs out, is that a commercial message? If so, has the client properly given her consent to receive it? There’s only one way to find out. Call a lawyer! Which is precisely what a large number of flabbergasted people are having to do. As Ms. Wainwright told the CBC, “We would rather be spending our time with our customers than trying to figure out how to do this properly so we don’t get fined ridiculous fees.”

Ridiculous indeed. The fines are mind-boggling: up to $1-million for an individual or $10-million for a company that violates the legislation. Officers and directors of any organization can be held personally liable. Charities and non-profits are not exempt, and they may also have the most to lose. Their e-mail lists are their lifeblood, because that’s how they reach potential donors. But now, if they have not obtained express consent, they won’t be allowed to reach those donors. And that could put some of them out of business.

“The compliance costs are daunting,” says Ms. Cunnington-Taylor. Even lawyers can only guess at what you have to do to comply. And forget about getting clarity from the government – they haven’t sorted out this stuff either.

Barry Sookman, a lawyer with McCarthy Tétrault, thinks the law is not just a mess but is probably unconstitutional as well. Here are some examples he has cited of e-mails that would not be exempt from the consent provisions of the law: An e-mail from your niece asking you to help with her tuition fees. An e-mail from the kid down the block to all his parents’ friends, offering to mow their lawns. An e-mail from a friend’s daughter selling Girl Guide cookies to raise money for a school trip. An e-mail to your old university acquaintances telling them about your new business startup.

There’s also the matter of enforcement. The CRTC is supposed to enforce the law, and has already received thousands of complaints. But its resources, alas, are finite. It almost certainly is powerless to shut down the real villains – the Nigerian scammers, the Viagra peddlers and the people masquerading as my bank who want me to send them my credit card number. Besides that’s a criminal matter, not a regulatory one.

The law is a sledgehammer. It will harass the innocent and leave the guilty largely untouched. The only winners will be consultants and lawyers. On top of that, the problem it’s supposed to address isn’t really that important. There are things known as spam filters. They’re not perfect, but they’re not bad.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Industry News
Slow Growth Hinders Canada’s Retail Home Improvement Industry    

According to a new report from HARDLINES, Canada’s hardware and home improvement dealers are facing a period of slow sales growth, even five years after the worldwide recession. Poor weather and a sluggish economic recovery held back industry growth in 2013. And the current year is shaping up to be only slightly better.

HARDLINES 2014 Home Improvement Retail Report shows that 2013 marked another year of positive growth for the retail home improvement industry, however, that growth was only 0.7%. “While dealers are enjoying the fourth straight year of positive growth, that growth last year was not even in step with inflation,” said Michael McLarney, Editor of the HARDLINES e-Newsletter and President of Hardlines Inc. in a press release.

As a result, Canada’s retail home improvement industry grew only slightly in 2013 to $40.7 billion.

Growth was held back by Canada’s housing market, which contracted in 2013, and by poor weather through the first part of the year. Other factors, such as a loss of sales by RONA and flat to modest increases by a number of larger retailers, especially the regional players, also made an impact.

Based on the performance by dealers, overall market conditions, consumer confidence, and a weak housing outlook for 2014 and 2015, forecasts as reported in this year’s Home Improvement Retail Report remain very moderate for this year and next.

The 2014 Home Improvement Retail Report also analyzes the performance of the various retail store formats. Here too, results differed among store types, with hardware stores performing well year over year, despite dwindling numbers.

The Report is a comprehensive overview and analysis of the retail home improvement industry in Canada. Featuring 170 PowerPoint slides filled with charts and graphs, it’s the only tool for measuring the growth and market shares of the key sectors and retail companies available in this industry.

For more information, please contact Michael McLarney, Editor: 416-489-3396,

Industry Saddened to Hear of Tom Ross’s Passing  
Tom Ross, former executive director of the Canadian Retail Hardware Association (CRHA), passed away on June 26 at the age of 83. Tom enjoyed a successful professional career beginning in pharmacy and then serving for 33 years as the Executive Director of the CRHA, for which he was honoured to receive the Pinnacle Award from the Canadian Society of Association Executives. Tom was also inducted into the Hardware & Housewares Industry Hall of Fame in 1999. During his years at the CRHA, Tom maintained a close relationship with international affiliates and sister organizations. He was involved in many research projects and industry
surveys helping independent hardware dealers to become more profitable. He also championed the cause on behalf of his members on legislative issues, such as gun control, Sunday shopping, and metric conversion.

A memorial service was held last week in Oakville. He is survived by his loving wife of almost 60 years, Marg, and their devoted children Tom (Lynn), and Karyn Beck (John) and grandchildren Greg, Kaitlyn, Adam, and Andrew and his many nieces and nephews. 

The CHHMA will also plan to honour Mr. Ross at this year’s Industry Memorial Golf Classic taking place on Wednesday, October 1st at the Blue Springs Golf Club in Acton, Ontario. Further details on this event will be available in the coming weeks.

Best Business Practices
7 Excellent Ways to Start a Presentation and Capture Your Audience’s Attention     

(Article by Jacquelyn Smith, Business Insider) 
“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” — Plato

When we speak, we have about 60 seconds to capture our audience’s attention, establish credibility, orient them to our topic, and motivate them to listen, says Darlene Price, president of Well Said, Inc., and author of “Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results.”

If you waste those precious opening seconds with a joke, an agenda, an apology, housekeeping details, a string of thank-yous, or a rambling pointless paragraph littered with “ums” and “uhs,” your audience’s minds are likely to drift, and you may not get them back. “You, your message, and your audience deserve much more,” Price says. “You need to put the art in the start, the most important part of the work.”

That’s a tall order for any speaker — and it requires us to develop and rehearse a well-crafted attention-getting opener. Price offers seven options.

1. Tell a captivating story.
“Of all the starters in your toolkit, storytelling is among the most powerful and consistently successful,” Price says. “As humans, we’re hard-wired to enjoy and learn from stories. From bedtime stories and campfires, to Broadway theaters and boardrooms — heroes, villains, conflict, plots, dialogue, and lessons learned draw us in, remind us of our own lives, and hold our attention.”

The story can be about you personally, which tells the audience first-hand why you’re invested in and passionate about the topic. Or you can tell a story about another person who the audience can learn from. “Another option: tell a fable, wisdom tale, historic event, or anecdote,” Price says. “The idea is, start with a brief 60- to 90-second narrative that launches your speech and captivates your listeners, and make sure the story encapsulates the key point of your message.”

She suggests you consider these questions as you craft your version of “Once upon a time”: What challenges have you (or another) faced in relation to your topic? How did you (or another) overcome them? Who or what helped you or harmed you? What lessons were learned? What do you want your audience to gain, feel, or do as a result of the story?

2. Ask a rhetorical thought-provoking question.
As Shakespeare wrote in “The Merchant of Venice,” “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”

“As a speaker, you ask rhetorical questions for persuasive effect; you don’t expect the audience to answer aloud, rather silently to themselves,” Price explains. When crafted and delivered well, rhetorical questions influence an audience to believe in the position of the speaker. “Clearly, Shakespeare’s character Shylock is leading his listeners to think ‘yes’ four times in order to justify revenge against Antonio. What do you want your audience to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to?”

In addition to yes or no questions, you can also arouse curiosity and motivate your audience to think about the answer, she says.

3. State a shocking statistic or headline.
Price says the vice president of sales for America’s leading healthcare IT company successfully sells software solutions to hospitals by starting her presentations with the following:

“According to a new study in the Journal of Patient Safety, medical errors leading to patient death are much higher than previously thought. Preventable adverse events, known as PAEs, cause up to 400,000 deaths per year for patients who seek care at a hospital. That means medical errors are the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer. Our vision is to create a world free of medical errors, and we need your help.”

“The statistic, bold claim, or headline needs to be directly related to the main purpose of your presentation,” Price explains. “Its impact ideally persuades the audience to listen and respond positively to your recommendation and next steps.”

4. Use a powerful quote.
“Employ the wise words of a well-known person because the name allows you to tap into his or her credibility, likeability, and notoriety,” she says. The quote must have meaning and relevance to the audience.

Imagine you’re urging a group to reach consensus, or giving a talk on conflict management. You could open with: “Mark Twain once said, ‘If two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary.’ Even though some of us disagree on the xyz issue, each of us is necessary in the reaching a resolution.”

5. Show a gripping photo.
A picture is worth a thousand words — “maybe even more,” Price says.

“Use photos instead of text, when possible,” she suggests. A quality photo adds aesthetic appeal, increases comprehension, engages the audience’s imagination, and makes the message more memorable.

Price offers the following example of an effective use of an image:

The president of an electronics equipment company needed his managers to cut costs. Rather than showing mundane charts, graphs, and spreadsheets, he opened the meeting by asking, “What sank the Titanic?” When everyone in unison replied, “an iceberg,” he displayed a beautiful high-definition image of an iceberg on the screen: the tip of the iceberg was clearly visible above the water; the much larger portion was dimly visible below the surface of the water.

“The same thing is about to happen to our company,” he continued. “Hidden costs — the dangers beneath the surface — are about to sink this company. I need your help.” This visual metaphor spawned a creative, productive brainstorming session that inspired every business unit manager to diligently hunt for what they labeled the “icebergs,” says Price. The result was saving millions and ultimately the company.

6. Use a prop or creative visual aid.
“A prop is a magnetic tool that hooks your audience and keeps them watching — or listening,” Price says. A visual aid can also help emphasize a point.

Price uses the example of a sales VP at a large insurance company, who happens to be an avid tennis player. She says he wanted to kick off his annual meeting with a bang — so he “brilliantly used his tennis racquet to emphasize ‘acing the competition,’ ‘rallying together as a team,’ and winning a ‘grand slam’ through great customer service.” Year after year, other speakers were compared to this leader’s creative ability to present a motivational message, she says.

“Think about how you could use items like a big wall clock, a colourful gift bag, juggling balls, a deck of cards, a bunch of carrots, or another prop, to introduce your topic, captivate the audience, inject humour, and drive home your message.”

7. Play a short video.
Imagine kicking off a product management meeting with a video of compelling customer testimonials, or opening a fund raising event for endangered species by showing an Amur Leopard playing with her cubs in the wild.

“Videos evoke emotional responses,” Price explains. “Unlike text and bullet points on a slide, you can employ people, pictures, and sound to reel in the audience, add drama, and communicate the gist of your message quickly.“ As Walt Disney said, “I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.“

Source: The Financial Post

Economic News
Canadian Housing Starts Rise Unexpectedly in June     

Canadian housing starts rose in June, surprising economists who were expecting a modest slowdown, though the previous month was revised lower, data released on Wednesday showed.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reported on Wednesday that the seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of housing starts rose to 198,185 last month from a downwardly revised 196,993 units in May.

That surpassed analysts’ forecasts for 189,000. May was originally reported as 198,324.

“June marks the third consecutive month of starts of close to 200K. That goes against the conventional reasoning that 2014 would bring with it the expected slowdown in the Canadian housing boom,” wrote Nick Exarhos, an economist with CIBC World Markets in a note to clients Wednesday.

Housing starts in Canada were trending at 185,939 units in June compared to 184,019 in May, according to CMHC’s six-month moving average of the SAAR of housing starts.

“The trend in housing starts has been stable since March 2014, down from the range of 191,000 to 196,000 seen between September 2013 and February 2014. This is in line with CMHC’s analysis indicating that the new home construction market in Canada is headed for a soft landing in 2014,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s Chief Economist. “Builders are expected to continue to manage their building activity to ensure that demand from buyers seeking a new unit is channelled toward unsold units, whether these are under construction or completed.”

The SAAR of urban starts increased slightly to 181,979 units in June from 181,359 in May. Multiple urban starts increased marginally to 118,815 from 118,750 units while the single-detached urban starts segment increased to 63,164 units from 62,609.

In June, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased in Atlantic Canada and the Prairies, and decreased in Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16,206 units in June, up 3.7% from 15,634 units in May.

Source: CMHC, Reuters

Building Permits in Canada Jump 13.8% in May
The value of Canadian building permits shot up by 13.8% to $6.9 billion in May from April, the fastest rate since July 2013, led by commercial buildings, while industrial and residential structures also registered substantial increases, Statistics Canada data indicated on Monday. This followed a 2.2% rise in the previous month.

The increase far exceeded even the most bullish forecast of a 5.0% rise in a Reuters survey of analysts. The median forecast was for a 3.0% gain.

Gains were posted in every province in May, except Quebec and Nova Scotia. Ontario, British Columbia and Manitoba registered the largest increases.

Construction intentions for residential dwellings rose 9.5% to $4.1 billion in May, the third consecutive monthly increase. Higher residential construction intentions were registered in eight provinces, led by British Columbia, followed by Ontario and the other western provinces. Nova Scotia posted the largest decline following two consecutive monthly gains.

Construction intentions for multi-family dwellings rose 16.1% to $1.9 billion in May, a third consecutive monthly advance. Higher construction intentions for apartments and apartments-condominium projects in British Columbia and, to a lesser extent, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan contributed to this gain. Nova Scotia, Quebec and Prince Edward Island posted declines.

The value of building permits for single-family dwellings rose 4.6% to $2.3 billion in May. This was the second consecutive monthly increase. Advances were posted in eight provinces, with Ontario recording the largest gain. British Columbia and Saskatchewan registered declines.

Canadian municipalities approved the construction of 17,415 new dwellings in May, up 11.8% from April. This increase was mostly attributable to multi-family dwellings, which rose 17.3% to 11,330 units. The number of single-family dwellings increased 2.8% to 6,085 units.

In the non-residential sector, the value of permits rose 20.8% to $2.8 billion in May, the largest monthly gain since July 2013. Gains were posted in seven provinces, led by Ontario and Manitoba. Quebec, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia posted declines following large increases in all three provinces in April.

Construction intentions for commercial buildings rose 39.4% to $1.8 billion, the highest level so far in 2014. The advance came from higher construction intentions in a variety of commercial buildings, including warehouses, retail complexes, recreational facilities as well as hotels and restaurants. Gains were posted in nine provinces, with Ontario and Manitoba registering the largest advances.

In the industrial component, the value of permits rose 22.4% to $441 million. The increase was largely attributable to higher construction intentions for manufacturing plants in Quebec and Alberta, as well as primary industry buildings in British Columbia. Declines were registered in three provinces, with Ontario posting the largest decrease.

In the institutional component, the value of permits fell 16.6% to $555 million. This followed a 37.5% increase in April. The value of institutional building permits was down in five provinces. The decrease in May resulted from lower construction intentions for government buildings in Quebec and medical facilities in Saskatchewan. Alberta and British Columbia recorded large increases, as a result of higher construction intentions for educational institutions.

The total value of permits was up in eight provinces in May, led by Ontario, followed by British Columbia and Manitoba.

Ontario posted substantial increases in commercial and single-family construction intentions.

The increase in British Columbia was mostly the result of higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings and non-residential buildings. Gains in commercial buildings and multi-family dwellings led the increase in Manitoba.

In contrast, the decline in Quebec was the result of lower construction intentions for institutional buildings and multi-family dwellings.

Source: Statistics Canada, Reuters

Canadian Companies Remain Upbeat, But Enthusiasm Has Waned: BoC    

The Bank of Canada says Canadians firms are confident about future prospects and the economy – although they are still not totally sold on a strong recovery and remain cautious about investment and hiring.

The central bank’s latest business outlook survey released on Monday shows executives giving positive responses across a number of expectations, from sales activity, hiring intentions and investment plans.

But in most cases, confidence levels dropped from the spring survey.

“The summer business outlook survey continues to offer some encouraging signs for the economic outlook, although lingering uncertainty and intense competition still hinders the pace of growth,” the bank said in an analysis of the results, which are based on a survey of 100 representative firms conducted between May 20 and June 12.

Overall, the bank appeared encouraged that expectations for future sales growth remain positive and that business sentiment regarding exports were firming.

Bank governor Stephen Poloz has said the economy will need a recovery in exports to convince firms to spend on productivity-enhancing machinery and equipment and start Canada on a cycle of self-generating, sustained growth.

But until recently, exports have lagged behind other sectors in the economy, although May’s numbers showed shipments jumping by a higher-than-expected 4.2% in volume terms.

Part of the confidence stems from improving activity in the United States after that country suffered through a harsh winter that temporarily side-tracked growth.

“Expectations for U.S. economic growth continue to strengthen,” the bank said Monday of business sentiment, “and orders from domestic and international customers show improvement from a year ago.”

About 70% of Canadian exports head south of the border.

In the survey, 36% of firms said sales volumes rose by a faster pace in the past 12 months than the year before, while 31% said they had grown at a slower pace. While still positive by a balance of five points, that is below the plus-14 percentage point finding in the spring survey.

As well, expectations on future sales were slightly less positive than in the spring, although with a plus-24 balance of opinion, the result is considered strong.

On the critical hiring intentions question, 43% of firms expected to add employees in the next 12 months, compared to only 15% that planned to reduce workers. Again, the 28% positive balance of opinion was more modest than the plus-45 percentage point result obtained three months earlier.

The most noticeable improvement from the spring survey was in investment intentions, although the bank said that plans were mainly tied to upgrading or replacing existing equipment.

Business leaders also said they had little fear of inflation, saying tepid domestic demand and intense competition should keep increases in consumer prices modest.

In a separate survey of senior loan officers, the bank said the results pointed to a further easing in overall business-lending conditions during the second quarter, continuing a long-standing trend.

Source: The Canadian Press

Canadian Jobs Picture to Remain Ugly Everywhere East of Manitoba: TD

Canada’s jobs market may have rebounded faster than those of other countries, but unemployment still looks ugly everywhere east of Manitoba.

In a new report on Canada’s provinces Tuesday, TD Bank forecasts that unemployment levels will remain above 7% in central and Atlantic Canada until at least through 2015. And in some provinces, far above that mark. 

Here’s what economists Derek Burleton and Jonathan Bendiner project: Jobless rates of 6.3% and 6.1% this year and next, respectively, in British Columbia, 4.4% and 4.2% in Alberta, 4.2% and 4.1% in Saskatchewan, and 5.4% and 5.1% in Manitoba.

The outlook is far bleaker heading east from there: 7.4% and 7.1% in Ontario, 7.6% and 7.4 per cent in Quebec, 10% and 9.6% in New Brunswick, 8.8% and 8.5% in Nova Scotia, 11.6% and 11.3% in Prince Edward Island, and 11.9% and 11.6% in Newfoundland and Labrador.

TD expects the national jobless rate to be 7% this year, and 6.7% in 2015.

Statistics Canada releases its June reading of the labour market on Friday.

In May, an increase in part-time jobs pushed up employment by 26,000 but unemployment rate also edged up, to 7%, as more people went looking for work.

Canada’s labour market has been weak over the past year, with job-creation of just 86,000, or 0.5%, and all of it part-time, at that.

Almost six years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, more than 1.3 million people are still without jobs.

“Labour markets and real estate in Atlantic Canada have generally been struggling this year. With the exception of New Brunswick, all provinces have recorded employment declines on a year-to-date basis,” the TD economists said.

“Public sector employment has pulled back in Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island (PEI), while Nova Scotia has recorded widespread declines with the level of employment in the construction, professional services and trade sectors well below their year ago readings,” they said in the report.

“The overall pull back in employment in the Atlantic region is consistent with the population growth numbers which show sustained weakness across most of the region’s provinces so far this year,” they added.

Source: The Globe and Mail

TD Predicts 5 to 6% Rise in Canadian Home Prices; Tougher Time Trading Up From Condo to

Canada’s housing market will continue to stay hot for the rest of the year, with home prices expected to rise on low interest rates and increased demand, according to the latest Quarterly Housing Report by TD Economics.

The bank upgraded its forecast for the real estate sector last Thursday, predicting that home prices will gain an average of 5 to 6% by the end of 2014.

“More strength may be bubbling under the surface,” said TD economist Diana Petramala, author of the report.

In February, the bank had expected Canadian home sales to flatten out, and called the market overvalued by about 10%. It did not give an estimate on how much it thought prices would rise or drop. That earlier forecast was based on the belief that mortgage rates would creep up in the spring, but rates still sit near record lows and continue to prop up demand.

Low interest rates have helped with the affordability of condos, where prices are at their “most favourable.” First-time buyers who may have been pushed out of the market earlier may also be returning back due to the rates, which have in part driven the demand for single-family homes.

In May, the national average resale home price grew 7.1% year over year — surpassing its 10-year average growth rate.

But looking past the short- to medium-term forecasts, Petramala said the Canadian real estate market is still expected to cool when interest rates rise and the number of available homes increases.

Those factors should be enough to “tip the market” back into one that favours buyers.

“Softer housing demand, combined with rising listings, will likely push the Canadian housing market towards a buyer’s market over the next year and a half,” said Petramala. “As home buyers have more choice, they will also have more bargaining power and price pressure will ease. These features would be consistent with the makings of a soft landing in Canada’s housing market.”

The report said the “soft landing” has already come to certain regions, like areas east of Toronto, while expensive cities “with more froth” such as Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria will soon be seeing more weakness.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported last week that home sales rose 28.9% to 3,406 in June. The total compared with 2,642 sales recorded in June 2013 on the Multiple Listing Service. Last month’s sales were 0.6% above the 10-year sales average for June.

Meanwhile, the TD report said home prices in Edmonton and Calgary were expected to post the biggest growth rate over the next two years, as those cities continue to see population and employment gains.

TD also noted that it expects condo prices to fall by about 2% next year, as an estimated 135,000 units currently under construction become available. This in turn will help boost the rental vacancy rates, keep rents flat, and make buying condos for investment purchases less attractive.

It’ll also make single-family homes — which are priced on average about $200,000 more than condos — less viable for those looking to upgrade.

“As such, move-up buyers who would like to upgrade their condos to a single-family home may find it difficult,” said Petramala, noting that prices for single-family homes have risen an estimated 8% this year, and were expected to go up by another 2% in 2015.

Source: The Canadian Press

U.S. Employers Advertise Most Job Openings in 7 Years in May
U.S. employers advertised more jobs in May than in any month in the past seven years, a sign that this year’s strong hiring trend is likely to continue.

More Americans also quit their jobs, a good sign because it usually occurs when workers find new and higher paying jobs. It also opens up more positions for those out of work.

Employers posted 4.64 million jobs, a 3.8% increase from April’s total of 4.46 million, the Labour Department said Tuesday. That’s the fourth successive strong gain and is the highest number since June, 2007.

The figures come after last week’s healthy jobs report and underscore this year’s steady improvement in hiring. Employers added a net total of 288,000 jobs in June, the government said last week, the fifth successive month of gains above 200,000. That’s the first such stretch in 15 years. The unemployment rate fell to a five-year low of 6.1%.

Tuesday’s report, known as the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, offers a more complete picture of the job market. It reports figures for overall hiring, as well as the number of quits and layoffs. The monthly jobs figures are a net total of job gains or losses.

Some details of the report weren’t as encouraging. Employers have been slow to fill their open jobs, which suggests they are having trouble finding workers with the right skills.

Total hiring actually slipped in May, to 4.72 million from 4.77 million in the previous month.

But the number of people quitting their jobs rose 60,000 to 2.5 million, the highest level since June, 2008. More quits indicate workers are confident about their job prospects.

Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen has said she is tracking the overall hiring and quits figures as indicators of the job market’s health and dynamism.

Both quits and hiring remain below their pre-recession levels, evidence that the U.S. job market isn’t yet back to full health.

In the past year, job openings have increased nearly 20%. But total hiring has risen just 4%.

Some economists say that is a sign that many of those out of work don’t have the skills needed for the available jobs. Former construction workers or factory employees, for example, may not be able to fill new jobs in health care or other growing fields.

Others argue that companies will have to offer higher pay to attract the workers they need. That could boost overall wages, which have barely kept up with inflation since the recession ended five years ago.

There are other signs pay could rise soon. There are now 2.1 unemployed workers, on average, for every job opening. That is the ratio that typically exists in a healthy economy and indicates employers may have to try harder to fill jobs, perhaps by boosting salaries.

“We think the result is going to be a pickup in wage growth,” said Cooper Howes, U.S. economist at Barclays Capital.

Source: The Association Press


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