Friday, December 2, 2011

Keystone Pipeline Canada

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keystone xl pipeline map route proposed keystone xl pipeline map keystone xl pipeline approval Canada believes the United States will ultimately approve TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which Washington put on hold last month for more than a year, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said on Friday.

Oliver said the project - which would carry crude from Alberta's oil sands to the Gulf of Mexico coast - still makes enormous economic sense for the United States.

"I think it will go through, but obviously later than we had hoped," he told a Reuters editorial board in Toronto.

A recent decision by the state of Nebraska to back changes to the pipeline's route was "a significant development", he added.

Oliver's comments were among the most bullish made by Canada's Conservative government since Washington announced a decision on whether to approve the $7 billion pipeline would be delayed at least until early 2013, after the 2012 U.S. presidential election.

"This delay is not a happy event for us but we're going to continue to talk about the advantages of the pipeline," Oliver said.

Washington's move followed protests by environmental campaigners and Hollywood celebrities, who say exploitation of the oil sands is causing a huge spike in the emission of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

Oliver said the delay meant it was important for Canada to diversify its oil exports, in particular by developing pipelines to the Pacific Coast, which would allow major shipments to Asia for the first time.

The idea is already sparking friction with aboriginal groups and environmental activists, who say such pipeline would present oil-spill risks in environmentally sensitive areas.

Aboriginal groups in the Pacific province of British Columbia said on Thursday they had formed a united front to oppose all exports of crude oil from the Alberta tar sands through their territories.

Such a ban would create a roadblock for Enbridge Inc's planned C$5.5 billion ($5.4 billion) Northern Gateway oil pipeline, which would transport tar sands crude to the British Columbia coast.

Oliver would not speculate on what the legal implications for the government might be if native communities maintain their opposition to the Northern Gateway or subsequent proposals.

"It has to be built in a way that takes into account the environmental impact and the needs and the wishes of the aboriginal community," he said. "I think that can be done. I'm not saying it will be easy."

Oliver said that developing West Coast oil routes was "an enormous opportunity" for aboriginal groups, offering badly needed economic development, education and jobs.
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US Economy Jobless rate falls to 8.6%

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The U.S. jobless rate fell sharply last month to its lowest level since March 2009 as employers stepped up their hiring in the latest sign of a steadily improving economy.

The report Friday from the Labor Department wasn’t entirely positive. The unexpectedly big fall in the unemployment rate, to 8.6% from 9% in October, was partly due to droves of workers, mostly women, who dropped out of the labor force, many probably because they saw weak job prospects.

A separate survey of employers in the U.S. showed they added 120,000 net new jobs in November, a relatively modest number given the economy’s needs, but Labor officials said there was more hiring under the radar at start-ups and family enterprises than these data captured.

Still, both worker and employer surveys pointed to a job market that is continuing to make strides since summer, despite ongoing concerns over the European debt crisis, the still-depressed U.S. housing market and the looming budget and fiscal cuts in the U.S.

The Labor Department revised higher the job growth in September and October by a total of 72,000 jobs, meaning job creation over the last three months averaged 143,000 a month. That’s almost double the monthly average from May to August when the debt-ceiling turmoil in Washington and the supply chain disruptions from Japan’s natural disasters took a toll on stock markets, manufacturing and overall confidence.

“The data shows the economy is still not robust but improving at a faster clip,” said Patrick O’Keefe, an economist for the advisory firm J.H. Cohn and a former Labor Department official.

The November job tally got a big lift from retailers, which boosted their head counts by 50,000 -– the second largest holiday hiring in November in a decade. Consumer spending has been surprisingly resilient in recent months, and strong retail sales during the long Thanksgiving weekend will boost confidence if the spending is sustained.

Temporary-help firms and the leisure industry -– hotels and restaurants -– also boosted their payrolls last month by about 20,000 each. Better-paying professional services, such as computer engineers and accountants, added several thousand jobs. Manufacturing payrolls were flat.

Some economists saw little to cheer about in the jobs report, saying the big drop in unemployment was likely to be reversed in the coming months. The jobless rate fell in one month by a similar magnitude last December, to 9.4%, and then again the next month to 9%. The rate went back up to as high as 9.2% this June.

“When you see the unemployment rate fall because people drop out of the labor force, you can’t be too happy about that,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington. He called the big rate drop a “statistical quirk.”

The unemployment rate is calculated from a survey of people 16 and over who are asked whether they are working or unemployed. Workers are counted as jobless if they haven’t worked in the week they were called and say they were actively looking for work. But over the long recession and slow recovery, many jobless people have become discouraged and have quit searching for work.

Labor Department officials acknowledged there was “somewhat of a discrepancy” between the two surveys –- the household one showing the big jobless rate decline and the employer survey indicating a moderate 120,000 payroll gains. But Adriana Kugler, the Labor Department’s chief economist, said the household survey was capturing what’s happening at new businesses and the more dynamic aspects of a recovering economy that are often missed by the survey of established companies.

By the household survey, which counts the self-employed as well as unpaid family workers as employed, employment grew by 278,000 last month -– more than double the business survey.

As for the large number of women who exited the labor force last month, Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis said that may partly reflect the many public school teachers who have been laid off by local governments struggling with budgets and their continuing difficulty in finding new work. In an interview, Solis said she was hopeful that November’s jobless rate would stick and even go down in the months ahead, but said that depended on whether Congress extended the Social Security payroll tax cut for workers as well as the federal extended unemployment benefits.

The latest jobs report comes on the heels of other data suggesting a strengthening of the economy.

Consumer spending, manufacturing and exports, and business investment and confidence all have edged higher since summer.

Other indicators also show hints of improvement in the job market. The National Federation of Independent Business, a lobbying group for small firms, said its survey of members in November showed that average workers per firm rose and that plans to create new jobs nearly doubled.

“Overall, the employment indicators delivered a significant positive signal, still at weak levels but a meaningful movement forward,” said William Dunkelberg, the group’s chief economist.
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