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Archive for 'auto industry'

Economist <3 car-sharing

It started with a car accident in February, and the total loss of our 2004 Prius, which had only been ours for less than a year. We were quickly compensated for its market value and were in a position to buy another car, but we held off due to a looming sabbatical that would take […]

CAW Major Auto Bargaining 2012: Lessons Learned

I am now finally emerging from the mental fog induced by the 24-7 triennial marathon otherwise known as “CAW major auto bargaining.” To close the circle, here are my thoughts in retrospect on the bargaining: how the union prepared for it, the issues at stake, the contents of the final deal, and the challenges that […]

The Big Banks’ Big Secret

The CCPA today released my report: “The Big Banks Big Secret” which provides the first public estimates of the emergency funds taken by Canadian banks.  The report bases its estimates on publicly available data from CMHC, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, US Federal Reserve, the Bank of Canada, as well as quarterly […]

The Rise of the Casino Economy

I was on a road trip recently, driving through the American south, and ended up coming face to face with the economics of gambling. The friend I was travelling with is a professional poker player, making his living at casinos all across the US. He used to work as an IT consultant in Toronto, helping […]

What CETA Would Mean for Canada’s Auto Industry

Canadian free trade negotiators are going all-out to get a deal with the EU on a new free trade agreement. The Harper government wants a deal badly for largely symbolic and ideological purposes, to show that the free trade agenda is back on track under this “stable majority government.”  Many valid concerns have been raised […]

Auto Labour Costs and Auto Industry Recovery

I was recently invited to speak to the annual management briefing conference sponsored in Michigan by the Center for Automotive Research, a fine outfit which does the best research work in the continent on auto employment, workers, and skills.  My slides are available here. My panel was addressing the current UAW negotiations with the Detroit […]

Use University Research to Increase Manufacturing Jobs

Manufacturing jobs have been declinining as a percentage of total jobs in most OECD countries for several decades, with Ontario being especially hard-hit as a jurisdiction. At the end of the Second World War, manufacturing jobs accounted for 26% of all Canadian jobs; by 2007, this figure had dropped to just 12%. And as I’ve […]

The Economic Footprint of a Canadian-Made Car

Like most dailies, the Globe and Mail produces a honking big weekly supplement on cars; theirs is called Globe Drive, and comes out every Friday.  One feature of the section is a mildly amusing column called “My Wheels,” each edition of which features some minor Canadian celebrity discussing their personal choice of vehicle. I recently […]

CAW Commentary on the GM IPO

GM’s $22 billion IPO got off to a roaring start last week. It’s ironic, needless to say, that it was underwritten by some of the same financiers (JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, and Bank of America) who brought us the global financial crisis — the same crisis that pushed GM over the edge into bankruptcy […]

Peter Van Loan’s Made-Up Trade Statistics

Here’s an amusing epilogue to my recent CCPA report on the possible economic and employment impacts of a free trade agreement between Canada and the EU.  (Here is the report; here is my blog on it.) The day after the report came out, reporters asked Trade Minister Peter Van Loan to comment on its predictions […]

Digging Deeper on the GM Loan Repayment

Last week’s announcement by GM that is has fully repaid the loans it received from the U.S., Canadian, and Ontario governments (years ahead of schedule, and with interest) was greeted in most circles as another positive sign of the auto industry’s modest recovery.  Since the dark days of last June (when Chrysler was shut down […]

Don’t Blame Auto Bailout for $50 b Deficit

In all the kerfuffle around Finance Minister Flaherty’s $50 billion deficit projection, the cost of the joint federal-Ontario support for the restructuring of GM and Chrysler has been getting a lot of attention. But while that restructuring support is an important and expensive undertaking, there’s no way it should be fingered as the major cause […]

Wage cuts, deflation and the feds

CCPA Executive Director Bruce Campbell coordinated the following letter, published at rabble.ca, from a number of progressive economists (mostly academic and private sector, not from the trade union sector) about the growing risk of deflation in general and the federal government’s attack on auto workers in particular. Government pressure to cut wages will increase the […]

What is YOUR All-in Hourly Labour Cost???

One enormous myth that has been propagated (sometimes innocently, sometimes not) in recent debates over the future of the auto industry is the false notion that auto workers “make” $75 per hour. Autoworkers don’t remotely make that much money — yet the lie has been repeated often enough, I am amazed at how many people […]