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Unemployment in US and UK may ‘rise above Great Depression’ | Business

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Unemployment in Britain and the US could surpass the levels reached during the 1930s Great Depression within months as the coronavirus crisis crushes the global economy, a former Bank of England official has warned.

In a stark forecast as job losses mount around the world, David Blanchflower, professor of economics at Dartmouth College in the US and a member of the Bank’s interest rate-setting monetary policy committee during the 2008 financial crisis, said unemployment was rising at the fastest rate in living memory.

Writing in the Guardian, the economist said UK unemployment could rapidly rise to more than 6 million people, around 21% of the entire workforce, based on analysis of US job market figures that suggest unemployment across the Atlantic could reach 52.8 million, around 32% of the workforce.

“There has never been such a concentrated business collapse. The government has tried to respond but it has no idea of the scale of the problem it is going to have to deal with. We make some back-of-the-envelope calculations and they are scary,” he said.

Making the assessment alongside David Bell, an economist at the University of Stirling, the former Threadneedle Street policymaker said the collapse in activity amid Covid-19 and the accompanying rise in unemployment looked to be at least 10 times faster than in the recession triggered by the 2008 financial crisis.

The economists said that while government support in Britain for companies to furlough workers could help to cushion the blow, unemployment would soar. While joblessness would rapidly rise, they cautioned it was uncertain how long the impact would last and how quickly unemployment would come down. During the Great Depression, records show unemployment hit 24.9% in the US and 15.4% in the UK over several years.

The warning shot for the two economies comes as business activity in Britain and the eurozone plunged to the lowest levels since the start of closely watched surveys more than two decades ago and as unemployment in the US begins to rise.

According to the latest snapshots from the purchasing managers indices (PMI), which are based on surveys of business activity, the private sector economy in the UK and the eurozone collapsed in March at the fastest pace since records began in the late 1990s.

The US economy also shed 701,000 jobs, according to March data, far more than the 100,000 fall expected on average by economists. The unemployment rate rose to 4.4%, up from 3.5% in February. Initial unemployment insurance figures, which come in advance of official figures, have suggested joblessness is already on-track to reach more than 10 million.

Stock markets sold-off on Friday as the prospect of lasting economic damage becomes increasingly clear. The FTSE 100 closed down more than 1% at 5,415, as share prices tumbled across Europe and the US.

The latest health check in Britain from IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (Cips) showed the onset of job losses last month as the government in effect shut down large swathes of the economy.

The PMI reading for manufacturing and service sector output, making up the vast majority of UK growth, crashed to 36.0 in March on a scale where anything above 50.0 separates growth from contraction. Down sharply from 53.0 in February, the reading was the worst since records began in 1996.

Duncan Brock, group director at Cips, said: “It’s increasingly difficult to find the words to describe the devastation as every region in the world fights to save human life as the first priority. The likelihood of a global recession is now a given, though its duration and severity has yet to reveal itself.”

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Surveys of factory output and service sector activity in the eurozone also showed the biggest ever single monthly fall in March, setting the currency bloc on course for a deep recession.

The IHS Markit eurozone composite PMI plunged to 29.7 from 51.6 in February, the lowest since the survey began in 1998.

“In one line: horrid, hideous, harrowing … you get the picture,” said Claus Vistesen, chief eurozone economist at the consultancy Pantheon Macroeconomics. “We are struggling to come up with words to describe these numbers, which are now so far out of any reasonable range that they are difficult to interpret.”

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Toshiba is officially out of the laptop business

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Toshiba quietly exited the laptop business once and for all last week, ending a 35-year run by transferring its remaining minority stake in its PC business to Sharp. Two years ago, Toshiba sold an 80.1 percent stake of its PC business to Sharp for $36 million, and Sharp renamed the division Dynabook. Sharp exercised its right to buy the remaining 19.1 percent of shares back in June, and Toshiba released a statement August 4th that the deal was completed

“As a result of this transfer, Dynabook has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Sharp,” Toshiba said in a statement.

The company made the first PC laptop in 1985: The T1100 boasted internal rechargeable batteries, a 3.5-inch floppy drive, and 256K of memory. ComputerWorld’s 20-year retrospective of the T1100 notes that Toshiba executives were unsure about the portable computer, but eventually came around, and began selling the T1100 for around $2,000.

During the 1990s and early 2000s Toshiba was among the top PC manufacturers, but as more players crowded into the market and with fewer unique features to offer, Toshiba’s laptops waned in popularity. By the time it sold its stake to Sharp, Toshiba’s share of the PC market had dwindled from its 2011 peak of 17.7 million PCs sold to about 1.4 million in 2017, according to Reuters.

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Government of Canada invests in Quebec’s Indigenous businesses and communities

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Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions invests over $4 million to help support jobs and opportunities in Indigenous communities.

MONTRÉAL, Aug. 9, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)

Today is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, a time to recognize the key contributions of those who have called this land home since time immemorial. No relationship is more important to the Government of Canada than that with Indigenous peoples, a Nation-to-Nation partnership. This commitment includes major investments in housing, education and health care, committing to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and co-developed legislation on Indigenous languages and child and family services.

As we walk the road of reconciliation together, the federal government remains strongly committed to creating economic opportunities for Indigenous businesses and communities.

Federal government support for 18 projects in Quebec Indigenous communities

The Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, today announced contributions totalling $4,201,471 to support Indigenous businesses and communities, specifically 18 projects spread across different Quebec regions.

This financial assistance, granted by Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), will boost 18 projects led by Indigenous communities, business and organizations in the province. It will create good jobs in Indigenous communities by helping, for example, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake as they develop a strategic plan; the Société de développement économique Ilnu as it develops the Mashteuiatsh community’s assets; the Bande indienne des Micmacs de Listuguj as it builds a development strategy; and the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake as it develops commercial activities in the Mohawk community.

The support being announced will also bolster several tourism sector projects by enabling, for example, the Nunavik Tourism Association to conduct marketing and development activities; the Wiinipaakw Tours, Solidarity Cooperative to create tourism infrastructure and to ensure the development and promotion of regional assets such as Uapishka Station and the Domaine du lac des Cèdres. Through the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, the funding will also provide assistance for several Indigenous businesses across the province being greatly impacted by COVID-19.

The investments announced will also boost local projects such as the construction of a new business centre and industrial motel for the Corporation Nikanik de Wemotaci; a new building for the Nation Micmac de Gespeg; and new trail infrastructure for the Conseil des Abénakis d’Odanak.

Additional information on the projects is provided in a related backgrounder.

Quotes

“True reconciliation means giving Indigenous communities and businesses the chance to succeed. This investment from CED will do just that—helping Indigenous businesspeople seize opportunities, helping Indigenous organizations deliver important local projects and helping Indigenous communities embark on the path to self-sufficiency and prosperity. I am excited to see the difference this investment will make for Indigenous communities in Quebec.”

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Member of Parliament for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for CED

“To help Quebec’s economy recover, our government is making strategic investments to enable communities and businesses to take advantage of economic development and opportunities for growth. Small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses illustrate the ingenuity and dynamism that are at the heart of economic development in their communities across Quebec and across the country.”

Élisabeth Brière, Member of Parliament for Sherbrooke and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

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SOURCE Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions

For further information: Media Relations, Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, [email protected]; Alexander Cohen, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, [email protected]

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Beaverdell business gets licence to grow small-batch cannabis – Kelowna News

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Licence to grow cannabis

A Kelowna husband and wife team have received the go-ahead to begin a small-batch craft cannabis operation in Beaverdell, B.C.

“I’m a micro-cultivation producer and my forte is going to be craft cannabis,” said Jeff Aubin, CEO Smoker Farms.

Aubin says he and his wife and a good friend have been working on the licence for a couple of years now, so the news is welcome.

“It’s been a struggle but this is great news and we are excited.”

Aubin looked into opening a dispensary in Kelowna but decided against it because he found the process onerous.

   

“I find that in the legal market most of the cannabis doesn’t have a lot of love attached to it.” Aubin says, adding Smoker Farms will “bring the love” by having a smaller crop of MK Ultra, with smaller rooms and more attention to detail.

“It has been our dream to be able to produce quality cultivars like MK Ultra and now we can begin to make those dreams a reality.”

Aubin has been working on the MK Ultra strain for 10 years.

“This cultivar has tested at a THC percentage of over 20 per cent, packing a powerful punch that is sure to resonate with a number of new and old consumers alike.”

Aubin hopes to bring a craft cannabis feel to his business even though his product will likely be sold under another label once it’s purchased at auction through Craft Depot.

“I’m working on deals that would allow for our labelling to be on future products so people will know how to find us, but for now, we’re just happy to be where we are,” says Aubin.

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