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Plight of the middle manager A recent survey done in Canada and the United States paints a worrisome picture of a middle manager dogged by overwork and stress.
Indeed, middle managers are 170 per cent more likely to "work around the clock" than those above and below them, the survey of 670 white-collar professionals by Captivate Network showed. And tellingly, more middle managers than those in other jobs believed their company was responsible for their work-life balance.
Almost 19 per cent of middle managers said they worked 10 hours a day, well above their colleagues. As for working at home in off hours on weekdays and weekdays, middle managers were again in the highest category.
And among those who believe work-life issues affect their health, middle managers were more stressed, and suffered headaches and muscle tension more. They were more likely to eat at their desks, and less likely to phone friends and family. They were also far more likely to nap at work.
Overall, the survey looked at work-life balance in the white-collar ranks, and found that men are happier than women when it comes to their work-life balance. Which may not be surprising given that the survey by Captivate Network shows women are carrying much more of the load at home.
The survey found that 75 per cent of men are happy with the balance in their lives, compared to 70 per cent of women.
At home, women take the lead on all chores: 62 per cent on laundry, 56 per cent on cooking, 53 per cent on cleaning, and 61 per cent on shopping.
Here are two interesting findings: A profile of the "happiest person" finds a 39-year-old married man in a senior management position earning between $150,000 and $200,000. The "unhappiest" is a 42-year unmarried woman, in a professional position, earning less than $100,000.
And another interesting find suggests men "take it easier" at the office, particularly young, single men, and are 25 per cent more likely to take breaks during their work day for personal reasons. The activities that are highest against the rankings for women include those outside of the office: Five percentage points more for men than women for lunch, seven for a walk, eight for exercise, 11 for smoking and 11 for sex. (That last one raises an interesting point, but I didn't want to ask.)
Germany approves new measures Plans to beef up the euro zone rescue fund cleared a big hurdle today with an overwhelming vote of support from Germany's Bundestag, Globe and Mail European correspondent Eric Reguly reports.
The expanded powers for the fund must be approved by all 17 governments in the monetary union, which would allow it to recapitalize banks, buy the bonds of euro zone countries in the secondary markets and provide liquidity loans to countries with unsustainably high borrowing costs.
"Yesterday's successful vote from Finland had not been sufficient in placating investors' concerns ahead of the crucial German vote, the most important of the 17-nation bloc given its strong financial position and the implications for longer term funding," said currency strategist Eric Theoret of Scotia Capital.
While the vote was never in doubt, the margin was "pretty comprehensive," added CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson. And there was speculation over how much support Chancellor Angela Merkel would have from her coalition partners.
"Angela Merkel managed to get the majority of her coalition partners to vote for the package but only just getting 315 votes of her coalition on her side," Mr. Hewson said. "She needed 311. The fact remains that a large number of the German population are becoming uneasy at what could quickly turn into a blank cheque for bailing out the euro zone."
Observers don't believe the euro zone is anywhere close to solving its troubles, and it's clear that the German people are growing weary of the debt crisis, and their role in it.
"Yippee for now, but we're clearly by no means out of the woods yet," said Derek Holt and Karen Cordes Woods of Scotia Capital.
"Not even close, in fact. How did such a solid outcome occur? Quite likely because it was bought by comments over recent days from Merkel and her Finance Minister Schäeuble that poured cold water on the notion of a blank cheque being written by Germany to underwrite Europe's troubles. If so, then rejoice over this vote, but guard yourself against little prospect of more German-led aid going forward."
The Scotia economists noted that Ms. Merkel has not ruled out a Greek default.
Inspectors back in Greece With the German vote out of the way, the focus now turns to a return visit to athens by inspectors from the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. They've been reviewing Greece's debt-fighting plans, a step on the way to more rescue money for Athens.
The inspection group, dubbed the Troika by the markets, must decide on the next tranche of loans, worth €8-billion.
Top court to hear broadcast fight The Supreme Court of Canada is wading into the heated fight over "fee for carriage" that involves the country's broadcasters, cable and satellite carriers and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
At the heart of the fight is whether the broadcasters can charge the carriers for their programs. This round in particular is over whether the CRTC has the right to set up such a sytem.
The CRTC referred the matter to the Federal Court of Appeal, which backed the boradcast regulator. Now, the Supreme Court will hear the matter.
- Supreme Court to rule on CRTC's jurisdiction in 'fee for carriage' fight
- Rogers to take TV battle to top court
Yellow Media and the Big Zero CIBC World Markets has slashed its price target on shares of Yellow Media Inc. to 0 (no dollar sign needed). That's down from $1.25 and follows the company's announcement yesterday that it's killing its dividend and taking a $2.9-billion hit.
As The Globe and Mail's Susan Krashinsky reports, Yellow Media's bankers demanded it bring down its debt load.
"In essence, the lenders forced the company to focus all efforts on the balance sheet in order to amend [Yellow Media's]credit facility expiring on February 2013," said analyst Robert Bek.
"Yellow Media agreed to pay down $500-million of its bank debt, and reduce the committed size of its term loan from $1-billion to $500-million," he said in a research note.
"Yellow Media's underlying business pressures combined with a troubled capital structure to put pressure on the underlying equity. Given the focus appears solely on protecting access to lenders, we do not see a situation where a positive equity outcome is likely."
U.S. jobless claims fall Today's reading on claims for jobless benefits in the United States is certainly better news, but it in no way changes what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke calls a "national crisis."
Initial claims for benefits fell last week by 37,000, much more than expected, to 391,000, the lowest level in quite some time, the U.S. Labor Department said. The four-week moving average, a much better measure, also fell, but still sat above the 400,000 mark.
Peter Buchanan of CIBC World Markets said today's numbers provide a "slim ray of light in an area that has been the recovery's most notable weak spot." Krishen Rangasamy of National Bank of Canada noted that the numbers remain high despite the drop.
The Federal Reserve has warned that the jobs crisis in the United States, where unemployment sits above 9 per cent, won't ease any time soon. And late yesterday, Mr. Bernanke said after a speech in Cleveland that the jobless situation is "really a national crisis."
He noted that 45 per cent of unemployed Americans have been without work for six months or more, which he described as "unheard of."
Enbridge proposes pipeline Canada's Enbridge Energy Inc. wants to build a new pipeline to shuttle oil to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast from Oklahoma, The Globe and Mail's Carrie Tait reports.
With its partner Enterprise Products Partners LP , Enbridge said the proposed Wrangler pipeline would transport 800,000 barrels of oil a day, with the potential to expand.
Cushing, Okla., is a North American oil hub. It has been oversupplied lately, meaning companies that process crude there receive a lower price compared to the oil processed on the Gulf Coast. Enbridge and Enterprise believe Wrangler will ease the discount.
Canada-U.S. house price gap widens The gap between Canadian and American house prices - they're well above pre-recession levels in Canada and still depressed in the United States - continues to grow.
Research by deputy chief economist Douglas Porter of BMO Nesbitt Burns shows a "staggering turnabout" from the 1990s and the first half of the last decade, when American prices were higher.
His research compares U.S. prices measured in Canadian dollar terms, and he notes that the two aren't perfectly comparable because median prices, used for the U.S. are typically lower than average prices, which were used for the Canadian reading.
"While it goes without saying that U.S. and Canadian real estate markets have been in different universes recently (while sharing the same hemisphere), the gap just keeps on going," Mr. Porter said.
"The average home price in Canada is now gliding along at $360,000, more than twice the median existing home price in the U.S. (converted into C$ terms) ... Nothing says prices need equalize, but a gap of more than 2:1 is not sustainable. Three ways it can narrow: a) the C$ falls, b) U.S. prices recover, or c) Canadian prices drop. Or, some of the above, or all of the above."
Yesterday, a fresh reading of the Canadian market, via the Teranet-National Bank house price index, showed house prices climbed 1.3 per cent in July, and are now 12 per cent above their pre-recession peak. As well, Bank of Nova Scotia said in a recent report that Canada's real estate market may be slowing, but it hasn't slumped as have those in some other countries.
For Mr. Porter's research, see the accompanying infographic or click here.
Costs of climate change Canadians face a high economic cost from the impact of a warming global climate, and the country should act quickly to reduce the financial price by investing in adaptation measures, a federal advisory panel warns.
In a report released today, the National Roundtable on the Environment and Economy forecasts that climate change will have a variety of increasingly harmful impacts, from flooding in low-lying coastal regions and threats to Canada's timber supply, to health problems caused by worsening air quality. The Globe and Mail's Shawn McCarthy reports.
Other headlines of note
- Nokia to slash 3,500 jobs by 2012
- Petrobank suspends heavy oil recovery project
- Germany's jobless rate falls to 6.6%
- U.S. economic growth revised up to 1.3%
In Economy Lab The Globe and Mail's Kevin Carmichael reports on research into the productivity gap between Canada and the United States.
In International Business When it comes to shipping, nothing is quite as simple as it seems, James Mackintosh of The Financial Times writes.
In Globe Careers Kerry Hannon at Forbes.com looks at what it takes for a top-notch résumé.
From today's Report on Business