Friday, March 6, 2009

Need a Job? Don't Mind the Weather? Consider Saskatchewan

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At this point it has become useless talking about individual stocks because similar to September - November 2008 we are seeing massive "horde" trading where individual names mean very little. So while I'm keeping an eye on the stock specific news most of it is being ignored as people flee in terror.

In my quest for good news, reader Steve sent this story about his home province, Saskatchewan; I thought with oil falling so much in price and agriculture cooling off, the region would be suffering but apparently not. While it's not too easy for Americans to move up to Canada - I guess one could begin the process now and hope by 2010 you are accepted. Or you can just wait until things get really bad here and to create jobs / keep the populace from raising pitchforks/torches, we invade Canada and make it the 51st state.... whichever comes first.

I said I'd go anywhere in the world to find good news .... thanks Steve :) Via CNN
  • Normally, "hot spot" isn't the first phrase that comes to mind when talking about Saskatchewan, Canada. But with most of Canada suffering from devastating job losses, this cold province is becoming exactly that. It's an asterisk to the entire country when it comes to the economic climate, and Premier Brad Wall is shouting it as loud as he can.
  • "It's a great time to come to Saskatchewan," said Wall, who even called the Toronto Star newspaper to tout his province's economic success and let Ontarians know there were jobs for the taking. "For those who are losing their jobs, we need them to know we have thousands of jobs open right now in both the private and public sector," Wall said. "We have a powerful story to tell, a story of success and that's something we want to share with those who are struggling."
  • Wall's province is one of the exceptions to the unemployment increases battering provinces across Canada. Saskatchewan's unemployment rate fell to 4.1 percent in January from 4.2 percent in December, making it the only province recording a decline. In Ontario and the city of Toronto, unemployment rates rose to 7.2 percent and 8.5 percent respectively. To the west, British Columbia shed 68,000 full-time jobs in January. More Saskatchewan jobs should be on the way. To stave off any possible recession, Wall announced a $500 million infrastructure "booster shot" to help keep the economy strong.
  • "All across the country, industries are getting quite ill," Wall said. "We aren't immune to it. We see some impacts in terms of layoffs and new vehicle purchases slowing off, and so we want to be proactive in staying ahead of the curve." (proactive? does not compute - must be the American in me ... proactive... leadership... in same sentence? cannot process this)
  • On Tuesday, the Conference Board of Canada released a report that said Saskatchewan will likely continue to lead the nation in economic growth in 2009 because of the infrastructure investment and tax reductions.
  • The province has also been reaping the benefits of an influx from nearby Alberta. When the government in Alberta decided to raise the oil royalty rates, oil exploration and expedition companies decided to move their operations to Saskatchewan in hopes of making more money. "Alberta has always been the gravy train of oil," said Montgomery, who is also a former resident of Regina, the capitol and second-largest city in Saskatchewan. "But with the new royalties, oil companies are saying 'Why stay here and make less when the opportunities right next door are even better?' Many other companies may start to follow suit."
  • Montgomery said people looking to move have said that cheaper land and insurance prices are among the other reasons they are headed to Saskatchewan. That means more business for Wall's province and more jobs coming to the area.
  • Not that there's a shortage of jobs. On Tuesday night there were nearly 6,000 private- and public-sector jobs on the Web site Saskjobs.ca.
  • A constant stream of revenue from oil production and exports also buoys the economy in the province. Saskatchewan falls just behind Alberta, as the largest oil exporter in Canada, and Wall's province sends more oil to the United States than Kuwait. Wall said the province is the leader in uranium production and produces a third of the world's potash.
  • The province is working with Montana on a $212 million climate change initiative that would create the first major greenhouse gas storage project in North America. The carbon dioxide from coal-fueled power plants would be stored in the ground in Montana and later be withdrawn for use in oil production.
  • Wall encouraged people not to count out a move to the province based on stereotypes that it is "only winter here," and "all of the land is just rolling hills." "'It's a beautiful, big place where life is great and right now there's also opportunity," he said. "I'm very, very biased, but I can't imagine a place I'd rather be, especially with what's going on economically around the world."
Always a bull market somewhere....

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