William Watson: They’ll love you when you’re gone, the pay data say – Yahoo Canada Finance

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Salesforce shares up after Elliott Investment Management takes multibillion-dollar activist stake
April is the cruellest month, T. S. Eliot wrote, proving he never experienced a Canadian November. April supposedly is cruel because it mixes “memory and desire, stirring/Dull roots with spring rain.” Literary criticism suggests Eliot thought hope perverse in a civilization that had just lived through the Great War (50 million deaths) and the Spanish flu (100 million). Hope is always dashed.
But in a Canadian November, east of the Rockies at least, everything is either dying or going into suspended animation. Roots aren’t even stirring, they’re hunkering down for three months. “Winter kept us warm,” Eliot continues, “covering Earth in forgetful snow.” Winter where I live is not warm and the snow isn’t forgetful. It’s cold, determined and persistent and requires constant shovelling. What would be evidence of forgetfulness in snow, in any case? T. S. Eliot: great poet, lousy meteorologist.
The dark November mood, its grip tightening as the days shorten, does guarantee that if you come across a new research paper with the grisly title “How substitutable are workers? Evidence from worker deaths,” you read it.
The paper is by economists Simon Jäger at MIT and Jörg Heining at the Institute for Employment Research of the German Federal Employment Agency. It’s quite amazing, in a macabre way.
The two use German Social Security records to look at the employment histories of fully 82 per cent of German workers from 1975 to 2011 in order to assess the effects of the sudden deaths of workers on the businesses and co-workers involved. The data are comprehensive. Only civil servants and the self-employed aren’t covered. Which is scary when you think of it: data at a Chinese level of intrusion.
Mind you, since the first censuses, governments have been collecting detailed data on citizens. The difference is that individual scholars used to dig away for years in musty libraries to compile relatively small data sets based on individual files. Modern computers allow you to include almost everybody almost instantly. I’m sure the data these researchers used was “anonymized” — that is, had names and social insurance numbers removed. But still …
Jäger and Heining looked at the effects of the deaths of 33,786 workers under 65 years of age who had not taken sick leave in the previous five years — making it more likely their deaths were not foretold and so did not contaminate the data by altering work conditions before the unfortunate event. They compared data at firms that were as nearly identical as possible to the death-struck firms across a range of characteristics but which did not experience the sudden death of a worker. It’s all quite painstaking and until the past couple of decades was simply impossible at statistically useful scale.
What did they find? Strange but apparently true: workers in a business hit by an unexpected death experienced a statistically significant increase in wages of 0.6 per cent in the following year. In the five years after the death the “average cumulative effect on the earnings of incumbent workers” was close to €3,300 ($4,586). Remember, that’s compared with similar firms where there hadn’t been such a death.
“Will you miss me when I’m gone?” is the title of a classic Carter family country song from 1928. Your co-workers probably will miss you when you’re gone. But the extra four and half grand will help them get over it. Will we soon be reading murder mysteries about German manufacturing firms in which all the co-workers did it so they could get the raise?
What’s going on here? Is it just that when a hole unexpectedly appears on the org chart everybody moves up a step and gets a raise to go with it? No, wage increases are actually more common in jobs above the deceased in the pecking order.
Jäger and Heining argue that what the raises suggest is that the answer to their question “how substitutable are workers?” is: “not that substitutable.” You don’t just go out into a spot market for labour and pick up a perfect replacement. You’ve got to train them in the ways of your firm, which, when you lose one of them, makes other people trained in those ways more valuable to you, so you pay them a little more. The economists found that the thinner the labour market, both by skill and by geography, the stronger this effect, which makes sense.
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On this subject of labour markets, I found myself half-agreeing with something British Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said this week (not words I write often!). “Our common goal,” he told the Confederation of British Industry, not a hospitable audience for him, “must be to help the British economy off its immigration dependency. To start investing more in training up workers who are already here.”
No doubt Sir Keir would massively expand government training programs. But there’s a limit to what such programs can do. The skills firms want are not all general skills of the sort such training programs focus on. Some will be specific to the firm itself and how it does things.
That kind of training only the individual businesses can do. And because, being specific, it’s not useful at other firms, businesses will have to induce workers to submit to it. Paying them more is the most obvious way.
LONDON (AP) — U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak opened an investigation Monday into allegations that the chairman of the governing Conservative Party settled a multimillion-dollar unpaid tax bill while he was in charge of the country’s Treasury. It’s one of multiple stories about secret loans and unpaid taxes causing discomfort for Sunak, who has faced scrutiny for his own personal wealth and family tax arrangements. Party chairman Nadhim Zahawi has acknowledged a dispute with tax authorities over
In a historic situation never seen before since the Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d'université (FQPPU) was founded in 1991, 12 of its member unions throughout Quebec are currently in negotiations or will be very shortly.
January is coming to an end. Which three growth stocks should investors be looking to add to their portfolios today? The post 3 Underappreciated Growth Stocks to Buy in January 2023 appeared first on The Motley Fool Canada.
PanGenomic Health Inc. ("PanGenomic Health" or the "Company") (CSE: NARA), is pleased to announce that its Nara Plant Library is available now on the Nara app as a resource to provide science-backed information about natural remedy alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs. Pangenomic Health also announces that its Nara app now also complies with US Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") guidelines.
The Keyrus Group announces it has entered the final phase of acquiring a majority stake in the Anaplan Practice (*) of Sonum International, a leading Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) consulting services firm based in Europe.
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) -The European Central Bank (ECB) is set to raise interest rates by 50 basis points in both February and March and will continue to raise rates in the months after, ECB governing council member Klaas Knot said in an interview with Dutch broadcaster WNL on Sunday. "Expect us to raise rates by 0.5% in February and March and expect us to not be done by then and that more steps will follow in May and June," Knot said. In a separate interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa published on Sunday, Knot said it was "too early to tell" if the ECB could slow down the pace of its rate increases by the summer.
NEW YORK (Reuters) -Global equity markets surged on Monday as easing recession fears and hopes of a less aggressive Federal Reserve buoyed sentiment, while the likelihood of more jumbo interest rate hikes in Europe pushed the euro to a nine-month peak against the dollar. Gains in chipmakers boosted beaten-down U.S. tech stocks as the market priced in a 95.8% probability of the Fed raising rates by 25 basis points to a range of 4.50% to 4.75% on Feb. 1. Easing fears of a recession also helped lift equities, as they did in the euro zone, despite expectations the European Central Bank will hike rates by 50 basis points both on Feb. 2 and in March, according to a Reuters poll of economists.
BRUSSELS/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) -The European Union's gas price cap, which launches next month, could impact financial stability and potentially curb liquidity in Europe's exchange-traded gas markets, the bloc's financial and energy market regulators said on Monday. EU countries agreed in December to a gas price cap that, from Feb. 15, will kick in if benchmark Title Transfer Facility (TTF) gas hub prices spike – a long-debated policy designed to avoid the record-high prices Europe faced last year after Russia slashed gas deliveries. In a report published on Monday, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) said that if gas prices edge towards the level that would trigger the cap, market participants are likely to change their behaviour to avoid triggering it, or to prepare for it.
NEW DELHI (Reuters) -Apple Inc wants India to account for up to 25% of its production from about 5%-7% now, the trade minister told a conference on Monday, as the iPhone maker continues to move its manufacturing away from China. "Apple, another success story," Piyush Goyal said, pitching India as a competitive manufacturing destination. Goyal did not say when Apple wants to meet the target.
The head of Suntory Holdings Ltd, Takeshi Niinami, said on Tuesday he expected the next governor of the Bank of Japan (BOJ) to show a clear policy roadmap, including criteria for ending its practice of controlling both long- and short-term interest rates. Niinami, an influential leader who is expected to become the next chairman of business lobby Keizai Doyukai in April, also said he wanted to keep lifting wages for Suntory employees while the cost of living kept rising – not just to support their living standards but also to activate economic growth led by the private sector. With the end of the term of current BOJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda coming up in April, Japanese business managers and investors are focused on the course of monetary policy to be adopted by his successor.
HAMBURG (Reuters) -Volkswagen's energy and charging division is keeping all options open for the long-term structure of the business, including a possible listing, the division's chief Elke Temme said in an interview with Reuters. The division, like all the carmaker's unlisted brands and its battery business PowerCo, is going through the motions of preparing for a listing as a training exercise instituted by Chief Executive Oliver Blume after the carmaker listed sportscar brand Porsche last year. The results of these exercises, which Volkswagen has dubbed 'virtual equity stories', will be presented internally on Thursday, an source who declined to be named told Reuters, with a view to sharing them externally at a capital markets day later this year.
Presumably much of that is due to the 60% drop in European gas prices since December and relief that the worst fears of an energy crunch have not come about, even if it has turned a bit colder in recent days. This has combined with some hawkish words from ECB Governing Council member Knot to lift the euro to a fresh nine-month high at $1.0903 and challenge the April spike top at $1.0936. Knot is considered a card-carrying member of the ECB hawk club, which was clearly irked by recent reports that the central bank might step down to quarter-point hikes in March.
The lawsuit would be the second federal antitrust complaint filed against Google, alleging violations of antitrust law in how the tech giant acquires or maintains its dominance. The Justice Department lawsuit filed against Google in 2020 focuses on its monopoly in search and is scheduled to go to trial in September.
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A proposal floated by the leaders of Brazil and Argentina to launch a common currency is being met with deep skepticism by analysts, who say neither country is positioned to tackle such a complicated undertaking or instill confidence in the idea with global markets. Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva told reporters Monday, though, that a common currency would reduce a harmful dependence on the U.S. dollar. “I think this will happen with time, and it is necessary b
(Reuters) -European stocks climbed on Monday, with technology firms spearheading gains, as optimism about the eurozone economy likely avoiding a steep recession overshadowed hawkish remarks from European Central Bank (ECB) officials. The pan-European STOXX 600 closed up 0.6%. The index had posted its first weekly decline of the year in the previous session on jitters around the earnings season and upcoming interest rate decisions from major central banks, including the European Central Bank.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden persuaded Democrats in Congress to provide hundreds of billions of dollars to fight climate change. Now comes another formidable task: enticing Americans to buy millions of electric cars, heat pumps, solar panels and more efficient appliances. It’s a public relations challenge that could determine whether the country meets Biden’s ambitious goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. Relying on tax credits and rebates made the climate legislation —
The holidays are over, but hopefully you took away some lasting memories. Some call it the “holiday debt hangover,” and this year seems much worse than most. “More than a third of Americans say they overspent this holiday season,” said Jill Gonzalez, senior analyst for the site WalletHub, which canvassed Americans for its Post-Holiday Shopping Survey.
HAMBURG (Reuters) -Volkswagen's energy and charging division is keeping all options open for the long-term structure of the business, including a possible listing, the division's chief Elke Temme said in an interview with Reuters. The division, like all the carmaker's unlisted brands and its battery business PowerCo, is going through the motions of preparing for a listing as a training exercise instituted by Chief Executive Oliver Blume after the carmaker listed sportscar brand Porsche last year. The results of these exercises, which Volkswagen has dubbed 'virtual equity stories', will be presented internally on Thursday, an source who declined to be named told Reuters, with a view to sharing them externally at a capital markets day later this year.
OTTAWA — The ongoing affordability crunch and the threat of a looming recession will be front and centre as the federal Liberal cabinet holds a post-holiday cabinet retreat this week. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his ministers will spend the next three days in a Hamilton hotel, hammering out their political and policy strategy for the weeks and months ahead. In a written statement last week, Trudeau said the retreat will have ministers look at ways to make life more affordable, and "seize n
The top 20 managers, led by Ken Griffin's Citadel, Bridgewater Associates and D.E. Shaw Group, made less than half of the $65.4 billion the group returned in 2021 when rising stock prices led to a record return. Citadel’s gain of $16 billion last year was the largest annual gain ever made by a hedge fund manager, LCH said.


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