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Central, eastern Canadians to head west again for jobs: TD Add to ...

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Go west, young man People from central and eastern Canada are expected to head west in increasing numbers in search of work and better jobs, Toronto-Dominion Bank predicts.

In a study on provincial economies today, economist Sonya Gulati said employment is favouring the western provinces.

And while Newfoundland and Laborador will also see solid job growth, other provinces won't fare as well.

"As individuals look to improve their standard of living, East-to-West migration flows will pick up once again," she said.

"The combination of improving job market conditions and relatively low jobless rates support such demographic shifts.

British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan should receive much of these in-flows over the 2011-12 period. But, these in-migrations will largely come at the expense of central Canada and the Atlantic provinces."

In terms of economic growth, Ms. Gulati projects that N&L will lead the country, while Nova Scotia lags. Here's what she sees:

British Columbia: The province hit its high note with the Winter Olympics, and will see more subdued growth of 2.6 per cent this year, and 2.3 per cent next, as housing moderates and resource gains come in mixed. She sees employment gains of 1.5 per cent and 1.8 per cent. The jobless rate is pegged at 7.3 per cent and 6.5 per cent.

Alberta: Will be among the economic growth leaders, at 4.2 per cent and 3.2 per cent, riding on the wave of high oil prices. Employment growth is forecast at 3 per cent and 2 per cent, and the jobless rate at 5.9 per cent and 5.6 per cent.

Saskatchewan: Also an economic growth leader at 4.3 per cent and 3 per cent, driven by an agricultural rebound. Employment growth is pegged at 2.6 per cent and 1.3 per cent, and the unemployment rate at 4.6 per cent in each year.

Manitoba: Economic growth is forecast at 3.3 per cent and 2.3 per cent, also on an agricultural pickup. Employment growth is projected at 1.6 per cent and 0.9 per cent, and the jobless rate at 4.9 per cent and 4.8 per cent.

Ontario: Solid, with room for growth in manufacturing and autos. Economic growth is pegged at 2.9 per cent and 2.4 per cent, employment growth at 1.9 per cent and 1.4 per cent. Jobless levels are projected to remain high at 8.4 per cent and 8.2 per cent.

Quebec: A heavier tax burden and other austerity measures will take their toll, with "subdued" growth of 2.4 per cent and 2.1 per cent, and employment growth of 1.5 per cent and 1.1 per cent. The unemployment rate is put at 7.7 per cent and 7.6 per cent.

New Brunswick: Fiscal restraint will hold economic growth to 2.1 per cent and 2.2 per cent, with employment growth of 0.8 per cent and 1 per cent. The province will see high jobless rates of 8.9 per cent and 8.6 per cent.

Nova Scotia: Even with a tourism boost from the Canada Winter Games, a rate hike in the HST and other headwinds will hold the province to economic growth of 1.7 per cent and 2 per cent, and employment growth of 1.1 per cent and 1.2 per cent. Again, high unemployment rates of 8.8 per cent and 8.5 per cent.

PEI: Potatoes will make a comeback, and with better tourism economic growth should be in the area of 2.6 per cent and 2.1 per cent, and employment growth 1.2 per cent and 1.4 per cent. The province will see higher-than-average unemployment of 11 per cent and 10.6 per cent.

N&L: The province has a "lot of catch-up to do," and oil will help, with economic growth of 4.7 per cent and 2.6 per cent, and employment growth of 2.8 per cent and 1 per cent. Dogged by traditionally high jobless levels, TD sees unemployment at 13.3 per cent and 12.9 per cent.

Companies optimistic Canadian businesses remain positive about the economic environment, though strong commodities prices are boosting expectations about costs and inflation, The Globe and Mail's Tavia Grant reports today.

The Bank of Canada's business outlook survey shows firms expect sales growth to increase over the next year, though they are slightly less upbeat than they were in the winter. Expectations around both employment and sales levels are most optimistic in the Prairies.

Google chosen for Nortel stalking horse bid Google Inc. is bidding on Nortel Networks' cache of valuable technology patents, which are estimated to be worth anywhere from a few hundred million dollars to more than $1-billion, Globe and Mail telecom writer Iain Marlow reports today.

On its official blog, the Web search giant said Nortel had selected its offer as the stalking horse bid for a huge stash of intellectual property.

Ever since Nortel sought bankruptcy protetion in 2009, the company - once a national technology champion for Canada - has gradually sold off its assets, a decision bemoaned by many who thought Nortel could have been saved.

Analysts take new look at Equinox, Lundin Analysts are taking a fresh look at the value of Equinox Minerals Ltd. in the wake of a surprise offer from China Minmetals Corp., China's first hostile bid for a Canadian miner.

Late yesterday, a unit of the Chinese company said it would offer $6.3-billion for Equinox, a copper producer already caught up in a twisted saga with its own hostile bid for Lundin Mining Corp. , which in turn pulled out of a planned merger. Minmetals is offering $7 a share in cash.

Calling it a "lowball bid" today, UBS Securities Canada analysts Onno Rutten and Jo Battershill boosted their 12-month price target on Equinox shares to $8, above the bid price, from $6.80. They pegged "fair takeover value" at $8.30 a share.

"Although we see a low probability of other bids for [Equinox]emerging, we believe that shareholders could hold out for a bump by highly motivated Minmetals. Our scenario analysis supports an expected value target of $8/share for Equinox and we therefore raise our target to $8 and upgrade [Equinox]to Buy based on the implied return to the unaffected share price."

As The Globe and Mail's Brenda Bouw, Jacquie McNish and Tim Kiladze report today, Minmetals said it has eyed Equinox for about a year, but moved now to thwart the Equinox bid for Lundin.

Where Lundin is concerned, UBS lowered its 12-month target to $8.70 from $8.90, though it now sees a greater possibility of bids other than that of Equinox. There's also, though, a greater chance that Lundin goes it alone and remains independent.

And, they added, "we reduce our previously published takeover valuation of [Lundin]from $10.40/share to $9.50 a share to incorporate the previously underestimated tax effect of a break-up scenario. with the possible outcomes ranging from $9 to $11/share."

TMX chief reassures The chief executive of TMX Group Inc. moved today to quash criticism that Canada would lose "regulatory authority" over its capital markets if the proposed merger of the parent companies of the Toronto Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange is allowed to proceed, The Globe and Mail's Rita Trichur reports.

At a luncheon address at the Toronto Board of Trade, Tom Kloet gave assurances that only Canadian regulators would oversee domestic markets in the post-merger era with London Stock Exchange Group PLC.

ECB poised to hike rates The European Central Bank is widely expected to raise interest rates this week at a time some say is the worst possible moment for several of the struggling nations within the euro monetary union.

It would be the first rate hike in almost three years, and would come amid a crippling debt crisis for countries such as Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain, which markets have dubbed the PIGS. Some add in Italy for PIIGS.

ECB chief Jean-Claude Trichet has already signalled a rate hike for Thursday, expected to be a quarter of a percentage point, as he moves to keep a lid on inflation. But this has many observers worried.

"While it is true that 25 basis points added to interest rates is not the end of the world in normal times, we suggest that these are not normal times," said Carl Weinberg, chief economist at High Frequency Economics.

"Raising interest rates will push up the cost of borrowing for Euroland's troubled PIIGS. The PIG sub-group is, to be blunt, falling before our eyes ... Levels of GDP achieved three years ago are yet to be regained. Unemployment is 9.9 per cent, according to last week's report, and wages are not rising. Neither is the money supply, or level of credit. We cannot see what good purpose raising interest rates now will accomplish."

Portugal is still expected to be forced to seek a bailout, Ireland's banks are in deep trouble, some believe Greece will still need to restructure its debt, and, while Spain is a different beast, some still see big problems.

"The European central bank, ... is expected to raise rates by 0.25 per cent despite the consequences of them doing so to the peripheral economies already buckling under increasing borrowing costs and in some case negative growth," said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

"Fears about the state of the Spanish banking system and the amount of toxic debt exposure to the property market, continue to be raised with the collapse of a deal to merge four Spanish regional savings banks with bad property loans late last week."

Stingray on deal trail Stingray Digital, a Canadian music and broadcasting company that has been expanding rapidly around the world in the past two years, is announcing a major acquisition in Europe today, The Globe and Mail's Grant Robertson reports.

Montreal-based Stingray, known for its Galaxie TV channels that stream commercial-free music over cable TV in Canada and the United States, is buying Music Choice International, a company based in London.

In Economy Lab today

One of the most significant challenges facing whoever forms the next federal government will be patching the $12-billion to $14-billion a year hole in the budget balance left by the cuts to the GST. Economist Stephen Gordon looks at the strategies of the Conservatives and Liberals.

In Personal Finance today

The CRA is more likely to waive penalties if you act quickly to correct income tax omissions, a tax pro Cleo Hamel tells Dianne Nice.

The end of winter encourages many people to clean their homes, but spring is also a great time to organize and improve your financial planning.

Suze Orman offers a bracing dose of reality in her latest personal finance book, The Money Class.

From today's Report on Business

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