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(Deborah Baic)
(Deborah Baic)

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Americans start to see red over bank debit card fees Add to ...

Inflation climbs The European Central Bank is between a rock and a hard place, with growth slowing and the monetary union in crisis, though with inflation climbing.

Eurostat, the statistical agency, today estimated the euro zone's annual inflation rate at 3 per cent in September, up from 2.5 per cent in August. At the same time, the region's unemployment rate held steady at a high 10 per cent for August.

The disparity in the group is stunning. At the bottom end, Austria, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have jobless rates of between 3.7 per cent and 4.9 per cent. Latvia, Greece and Spain, on the other end of the spectrum, are now struggling with unemployment of between 16.2 per cent and 21.2 per cent.

The elusive parking spot? It's the Friday of a somewhat hectic week, so let's forget about GDP, the euro zone crisis and the ups and downs of the markets for a moment, and focus on an area where we appear to have the upper hand.

It turns out Canadians are relatively mild-mannered when it comes to fights over parking, based on survey results from Toronto and Montreal, and we don't have that bad a time of finding spots compared to other big cities.

IBM yesterday released its first-ever parking study, a survey of more than 8,000 commuters in 20 centres. We all know what it can be like heading to work or shopping, but it turns out we're better off than we may know.

The overall survey measured how much time it takes looking for a spot, the inability to find one, fights over spaces and parking tickets. The worst cities were New Delhi, Bangalore, Beijing, Moscow, Shenzhen, Paris and Milan, and the best included London, New York, Montreal, Buenos Aires, Toronto, Los Angeles and Chicago.

I particularly liked the measures on fighting over parking spots. The most likely drivers to get into a spat, according to the IBM survey, are in Delhi, Bangalore, Nairobi and Milan, while the least likely are in Chicago, Los Angeles, Stockholm, Montreal, Singapore and Toronto.

"In addition to the typical traffic congestion caused by daily commutes and gridlock from construction and accidents, reports have estimated that over 30 per cent of traffic in a city is caused by drivers searching for a parking spot," IBM said.

"Not only do inefficient parking systems result in congestion and increased carbon emissions, they also waste commuters’ time, lead to lost productivity and economic opportunities and can lead to inefficient city services."

Toronto and Montreal were the only Canadian cities in the survey.

Headlines of note

In Economy Lab When you put things in historical perspective, current conditions in the jobs market are at least as good as one might expect after two years of recovery, Stephen Gordon writes.

In International Business What began as a wave of global M&A in stock exchanges has settled on London, Jeremy Grant of The Financial Times reports.

In Globe Careers When it comes to teamwork, "good eggs are not as contagious as bad apples," The Globe and Mail's Wallace Immen finds.

From today's Report on Business

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