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Good news, bad news


 

Good news, bad news on the economic front. Consider the evidence:

The good

  • Some relief for Americans in the midst of an ugly job market: the cost of living index fell in May by 0.3 per cent, the most since 2008. The biggest break came from fuel prices.
  • In what will surely be a boon for North American productivity, pizza vending machines, which have been a success in Europe, are coming to the U.S.
  • Canada and the U.S. announced plans to build a new $1-billion bridge between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit. Bad news for the private owner of the existing Ambassador bridge; good news for everyone else.
  • The world sees Canada as a safe haven. Foreign investors bought $10.2 billion worth of Canadian securities in April (mostly government bonds)—a rebound from March’s $2.4 billion in net sales.
  • Europe may be troubled but its luxury car makers are doing brisk business. BMW and Volkswagen’s Audi had record sales in May.
  • A Royal Bank forecast says the Canadian economy will grow 2.6 per cent this year and in 2013. Alberta will lead the way with an impressive four per cent growth rate.
  • Bombardier landed a deal worth nearly $10 billion to sell 275 of its Challenger jets to the private aircraft firm NetJets, a unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Up, up and away.

The bad

  • Raising a child isn’t getting any easier. A middle-income family will now spend $235,000 to raise a child to the age of 18, says a U.S. report. That’s up 3.5 per cent over a year earlier, mainly due to rising costs of child care, education and food.
  • The number of Canadian businesses planning to hire workers in the coming months fell to its lowest level in two years, according to a Manpower Inc. survey. Time to polish up that LinkedIn profile.
  • Manufacturing declined 0.4 per cent in the U.S. in May. Canada also experienced a factory slowdown, with a 0.8 per cent drop in sales in April.
  • Nokia announced it will cut 10,000 jobs, almost one-fifth of its workforce. Meanwhile, rival RIM is ending its manufacturing contract with fellow Canadian firm Celestica as it continues to cut costs.
  • House prices could drop 15 per cent in Toronto and Vancouver over the next few years, says a TD report. Of particular concern: the glut of new condominiums that have been built in both cities.
  • Is America’s decline really this bad? The majority of people in Germany, Britain, France and Spain rank China as the world’s top economic power, says a recent Pew Research Center poll.
  • America’s recession was even worse than many thought. Statistics show the median net worth of families fell 40 per cent between 2007 and 2010, to $77,300 from $126,400.

 
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