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Weekly earnings, employment down

Average weekly earnings and payroll employment in Manitoba both took a hit in the first month of 2014, new Statistics Canada data show.

The agency said Monday that weekly earnings declined by 1.6 per cent, or $14.16, to $853.01 from $867.17 in December.

The good news was that, despite the month-over-month decline, January's earnings were still 3.3 per cent higher than in January 2013, when they were at $825.78.

The number of payroll employees, meanwhile, dipped by 0.5 per cent, or 3,100 workers, to 579,200 from 582,300 in December.

But as was the case with earnings, January's employee total was still higher than a year earlier -- 0.7 per cent higher, to be exact -- when there were 575,300 payroll employees in the province.

Payroll employees are non-farm workers who work for someone, as opposed to being self-employed.

Manitoba's monthly drop in earnings was the second-biggest provincial decline after Prince Edward Island's 1.7 per cent. And the monthly dip in the number of payroll employees was the largest. Nationally, average weekly earnings were virtually unchanged from December to January, at $924.77, but up three per cent from a year earlier.

And the number of payroll employees was also virtually unchanged at 15.5 million, up one per cent from the previous January.


Manitoba HQ workers up

The number of head office employees in Manitoba grew at the fastest pace in the country from 2011 to 2012, even though the number of head offices remained unchanged at 109, Statistics Canada figures show.

The agency said Monday the number of workers here grew by 3.5 per cent to 6,728 in 2012 from 6,500 in 2011. That followed a 0.2 per cent decline from 2010 to 2011. Manitoba's gain was more than triple the national average increase of 0.8 per cent. Statistics Canada said there were 222,294 head-office employees in Canada in 2012, versus 220,623 in 2011.

For confidentiality reasons, the agency wouldn't disclose which Manitoba head offices added workers, or if they were headquartered in Winnipeg or in one of the province's rural centres.

Provincially, Ontario continued to boast the greatest concentration of head offices and head-office employees in Canada, followed by Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia.

And in terms of cities, Toronto had the largest number of head offices, at 726, and the largest number of head-office employees, at 73,380. Montreal was second, with 397 head offices and 40,824 head-office workers.

Statistics Canada noted more than two-thirds of Canada's 2,816 head offices in 2012 were located in just eight cities -- Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa-Gatineau, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Quebec City.


CRTC hangs up on telemarketers

OTTAWA -- The country's communications regulator is hanging up on telemarketers.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says it will maintain the rules that prevent automated calling devices from contacting people who don't want the calls.

The Canadian Marketing Association had wanted the rules eased so businesses with existing customer relationships could make automated calls to people without having their express consent.

But the CRTC says the existing rules, designed to reduce undue inconvenience to Canadians, will stand.

The regulator has also tightened the rules, giving telemarketers 14 days to remove numbers from their calling lists when Canadians request to be placed on a business's internal do-not-call list. The grace period used to be 31 days.

As well, telemarketers using automated calling devices will be required to say up front why they're calling.


GM recalls 1.5 million vehicles

DETROIT -- General Motors Co. said Monday it is recalling 1.5 million vehicles worldwide -- including 145,700 in Canada -- because the electronic power-steering assist can suddenly stop working, making them harder to steer.

The new recall brings to 6.3 million the number of vehicles GM has recalled since February. The initial recall -- now at 2.6 million small cars for an ignition-switch defect -- prompted the automaker to name a new safety chief and speed up the review of cases that might lead to recalls.

GM said it expects recall-related costs to total $750 million in the first quarter, including $300 million for the ignition-switch recall.

Included in the new recall are:

  •  Chevrolet Malibu from the 2004-2005 model years, plus some 2006, 2008 and 2009 model-year cars.
  •  Chevrolet Malibu Maxx from the 2004-2005 model years, plus some 2006 model-year cars.
  • Chevrolet HHR from the 2009-2010 model years (non-turbocharged only).
  •  Some Chevrolet Cobalts from the 2010 model year.
  •  Some Saturn Auras from the 2008-2009 model years.
  •  Saturn Ion from the 2004-2007 model years.
  •  Pontiac G6 from the 2005 model year, plus some cars from the 2006, 2008 and 2009 model years.

GM says no deaths related to the defect have been reported.

GM dealers will replace the power-steering motor and other parts for free.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 1, 2014 B5

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