Labouring to create more job prospects

first_imgWith low unemployment and high vacancy levels in many occupational groupings, it might seem strange that Training & Enterprise Councils (TECs) in north Wales and Cheshire worry about a relative lack of success in attracting inward investors. But they do.One reason for their concern is that the assisted area status of much of the region may change soon. Another reason is that several of the local economies seem to be performing below their potential, given the existing industrial structure. This is troubling at a time when the growth rate of the national economy is slowing and export markets are under renewed pressure.Assisted area status Most of Anglesey and the Wirral have development area status. Gwynedd, Flintshire, Wrexham and much of north and west Cheshire have intermediate area status. The definition of these areas may change early this year, in readiness for the new European Union designations of regional aid that come into force in January 2000.While Merseyside, including the Wirral, looks likely to retain its eligibility for maximum aid, other areas may well be downgraded.Between 1986 and 1995, the north-west region, which accounts for 14% of the UK GDP, attracted 11.5% of the inward investment by value from overseas. The region feels that it has lost out to Scotland and Wales, both of which have attracted shares of this inward flow well above their share of national output. Regional aid expenditure in the north-west was £24m in 1995-96, compared with £117m in Scotland and £98m in Wales.Within the region, the prime beneficiary of jobs created by inward investors has been Greater Manchester. Between 1986/7 and 1996/7, it accounted for 45% of the total compared with 29% for Cheshire and 17% for Merseyside.Within Cheshire, the prime benefit has been experienced in the Warrington area in the north of the county. Chester has received only 4% of the projects, while the Wirral and Ellesmere Port have attracted less than 4% of the regional total, with a limited number of small investments by companies in the manufacturing industry.In north Wales, projects have gone to the east rather than the west of the region. Inward investment in Wrexham and Flintshire has contributed strongly to the employment increase in north-east Wales of more than 15,000 jobs since1985. In these areas, there is a desire to retain this momentum, particularly in the manufacturing sector.Recent projects have included an expansion by the Japanese lens manufacturer Hoya, in Wrexham, and an investment in car components manufacturing by Baumeister and Ostler.Industrial performance If the change in employment or output of a local economy over time is compared with changes in the national economy on a sector-by-sector basis, then it becomes possible to distinguish an ‘industry effect’ on the overall strength or weakness of the change, from a ‘local effect’. This is a relatively crude way of seeing whether a local economy is performing well or poorly, on the basis of how each local industry is doing against a national standard.The results have to be interpreted with care. The local industry may not fit the output mix of the sector nationally. A slow growth in employment in an industry locally, compared with the national growth rate, may be due to a successful performance in raising labour productivity that causes output to grow more strongly than employment.Given the caution, it is interesting to note that, while the negative growth in employment in the north-west between 1991 and 1995 was more than twice the rate of decline experienced nationally, more than two-thirds can be attributed to a local or regional effect, rather than the region’s industrial structure.Attracting inward investors Areas such as west Cheshire and north-west Wales look to inward investment to introduce a stronger representation locally of employment sectors that are growing strongly, nationally and internationally.In both areas, the evidence of new firm formation and the growth of smaller enterprises shows relative weakness. So it is difficult to encourage local economic expansion to be home-grown, even with the many policy aids that are available in both areas.At the same time, west Cheshire and north Wales suffer disadvantages in the competition for mobile investment, even with government regional aid. The skill base, for example, is poor. This is especially true among manual grades of worker.In terms of infrastructure, the local provision has improved vastly compared with 20 years ago. Port and airport facilities are good in Liverpool and Manchester. However, the road links with the rest of the country are getting worse. They suffer from heavy congestion, although the north Birmingham relief road will greatly help access to London, the south-east and the Channel ports. And, along with the rest of the north-west region, the areas share the limitations of the west coast main rail line.More tenuously, the external perception of the areas is not very positive compared with other locations an inward investor might consider. The town of Chester is the notable exception to this. It could be the marketing bridge to build on for the whole area.last_img read more

New transmission part of Brinn awards program for Modifieds

first_imgBAY CITY, Mich. – A new transmission is the top prize in the IMCA awards program renewed for 2014 by Brinn. The Bay City, Mich., manufacturer gives $50 product certificates to designated place finishers at 30 special events this season. Those drivers will be entered in a post-season drawing, with the winner receiving the new Brinn transmission. Product certificates will be mailed from the IMCA home office after official results from specials are received. Recipient of the transmission for 2013 was Ryan McDaniel of Olivehurst, Calif., runner-up at Ocean Speedway’s Pat Pettit Memorial. Informa­tion about the complete line of Brinn products is available by calling 989 686-8920 and at the www.brinninc.com website. 2014 is Brinn’s 12th season as an IMCA sponsor. “It is hard to believe that we’ve partnered with Brinn for a dozen years now,” IMCA Marketing Director Kevin Yoder said, “but they make a great product for IMCA Modified drivers and we will gladly award another free one at the conclusion of the season.”last_img read more

Whicker: Kobe Bryant grew up before our eyes and kept us on our toes

first_imgHe was in touch with today’s stars. He called Kyrie Irving his “little brother,” and Irving left a Nets-Knicks game in tears on Sunday. He consistently studied the WNBA: “A beautiful game. The men’s game gets enough attention.”When he did comment on the NBA he did not sit in a studio and riff. He got down to the bones of the game with his “Detail” series, on ESPN.There’s nothing wrong with spending your retirement years broadcasting or making commercials. Bryant, as usual, was different. He didn’t critique players. He was teaching them. He talked about players developing “the emotional stability” it takes to handle making, missing, winning, losing. “The world should be your library,” he said.So much of Sunday’s TV blather was about Bryant’s pursuit of Michael Jordan. They shared little, except bottomless appetites. Bryant grew up in Italy and skipped college even though the college was Duke. He was a dunker who became a 38 percent 3-point shooter in 2003. He played to meet challenges, not to settle scores or prove his case.Mostly, he played. He played at least 80 games in six of his 20 seasons, and all 50 games in the lockout season of 1999. When he was on trial for sexual assault in Colorado, he would fly back to Staples for games, even playoff games. He was his own lightning and thunder.But there were growing pains, all visible and televised. Bryant reached a settlement with the woman in Colorado, who dropped the charges, and he issued a quasi-apology in which he said he could “understand” why she thought the incident was non-consensual.He was unmerciful, at times, with teammates. He slapped Samaki Walker, allegedly over a $100 bet.His feuding with Shaquille O’Neal was tiresome, if understandable. O’Neal was the big guy who wanted to be a kid. Bryant was the kid who wanted to be The Terminator, and he wasn’t a fan of seniority. If Shaq came to camp overweight or hadn’t healed himself in the offseason, why should Kobe give him the ball?The two signed enough treaties to win three championships, but the vibes were awful in the 2004 Finals loss to Detroit, and, according to Phil Jackson’s book, Bryant announced, “I’m tired of being the (deleted) sidekick.” O’Neal was gone within the month.His wife Vanessa filed for divorce in 2011 but the Bryants stayed together. “I’m known for being determined and fighting my ass off in my professional life,” he said. “How can I not do that in my personal life?”Sign up for the Purple and Bold newsletter for complete Lakers coverage delivered 3 days a week. Subscribe here.As Kobe got older he slowly abandoned his 3-point stance. The Lakers won Shaq-less titles in 2009 and 2010. They won Game 7 against the Celtics when Kobe missed 18 of 24 shots and Metta World Peace came to the rescue. When he retired in 2016, none of the tears were his. The gladiator went out and embraced a world without opponents.If life is measured by the number of unforgettable people we collect, then we were lucky to walk the same earth with Bryant. The regret is that he won’t be around in case we ever grow up.We are providing free access to this article. Please consider supporting local journalism like this by subscribing here. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Related linksKobe Bryant, one of the greatest Lakers ever, dies at 41Kobe Bryant leaves lasting impact with Orange County girls basketball communityWith unrivaled ‘game,’ on and off the court, Kobe Bryant defined LA for a generationKobe Bryant timeline: A look at the life of the Lakers legendPhotos: Kobe Bryant’s legendary basketball career Bryant was basketball’s rock star from Day 1. On Sunday he died, along with eight others, when his helicopter pilot rose into skies that the L.A. police wouldn’t brave. The grief was so deep because Bryant had grown up in front of us, with no filter and no place to hide. He was about to become the best ex-player in NBA history.That was part of Bryant’s defiance. We thought he’d be screaming at the walls when he couldn’t play anymore. He never doubted that he would build a new life in advance, in turn-key fashion, and move right in.He was gloriously busy. He didn’t even subscribe to NBA League Pass until his daughter Gigi asked him.Instead, he wrote podcasts about “The Punies,” kids who played games and lost and learned and won.He conceptualized “The Wizenard Series,” in which the woebegone West Bottom Badgers encounter a magic man who can change their season. He created “The Tree of Ecrof,” in which two kids try to survive among bogeymen at a fantasy sports camp.center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers Kobe Bryant had L.A. long before hello.When he showed up for the Summer League at Long Beach State’s Pyramid in 1996, the place was already packed. He scored 27 points in 26 minutes and shot 20 free throws, against older Detroit Pistons. He saw a sports writer from Philadelphia who had come cross-country and said, “Hello, Mr. Smallwood.”He was 17.He came on like the Jackson Five and he aged like Eric Clapton, and, given the chance, he might have been Tony Bennett.last_img read more