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Ottawa’s jobs report is fantasy fiction

Every day ROB Insight delivers exclusive analysis on breaking business news and market-moving events. Streetwise offers news and analysis on Bay Street and the world of finance. Inside the Market delivers up-to-the-minute insights on market news as it develops.

Here are our editors' picks of some of the best reads available to Globe Unlimited subscribers this week.

Mind the gap on skills mismatch study

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The job market isn't as bad as it seems, Ottawa keeps telling us, it's simply that there's a big skills mismatch. There are good-paying jobs that employers can't fill, they argue, because of a lack of people with the right education and training. The federal government underlined its point last month in a 56-page Jobs Report, insisting that despite a 7-per-cent unemployment rate, the number of job vacancies in the country has grown to 4.2 per cent of all positions – submitted as smoking-gun evidence of the skills gap. But there's one little problem with that contention: The data to back the claim comes not from Statistics Canada, but from the Finance Department's own research, partly gleaned from online job postings that dramatically inflate the numbers. In ROB Insight, David Parkinson separates the fact from the fiction.

Protecting, or overprotecting investors?

The Ontario Securities Commission is looking to tweak rules covering the "exempt market" in securities trading, whereby special rules permit smaller unlisted companies to raise capital without going through the expensive process of issuing a prospectus. New proposals would change the rules to allow any investor – not just those with high net worth – to buy up to $10,000 of equity a year provided they see an "offering memorandum." Not so fast, say investor-protection groups, who claim the current rules are not being adequately enforced, and that looser rules could increase the chance of fraud. In Streetwise, Jeff Gray examines the debate as various industry experts weigh in.

Where'd that correction go?

Many in the market have been bracing for a correction for some time, and the warnings have only grown louder since the start of the new year. Strategists have pointed to several metrics to back their contention, yet the U.S. benchmark S&P 500 keeps trundling on. So what's going on? In Inside The Market, David Berman points out that corrections need themes, citing the growing European debt crisis as the culprit for 2011's fall. He explores the various gathering headwinds and explains why no threat is yet big enough to nudge things over the edge.

The economics of pro sports

It comes as no surprise to hear that professional sports is big business: In Canada alone, it's a $1.5-billion-a-year industry. In ROB Insight, Glen Hodgson, co author of Power Play: The Business Economics of Pro Sports, explores the factors behind running successful leagues and franchises in different major league sports. Mr. Hodgson contrasts the formulas used in the more share-the-wealth NFL, market-forces-leaning baseball, and the middle ground of the NHL.

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TD's take on the USA

Will they or won't they get out the chequebook in the U.S. again? That's the question many TD Bank watchers have been asking for some time, and it keeps resurfacing, as the bank already has a sizable presence in the country. This week incoming CEO Bharat Masrani made clear the lender doesn't see the need to make another big purchase south of the border, writes Tim Kiladze in Streetwise, explaining his strategy with regard to existing operations. Mr. Masrani didn't close the door completely, though, noting there are certain regions in the U.S. where TD needs to grow.

Are you preparing for a rate rise?

Higher interest rates are inevitable, so Jim Gilliland, president and CEO of Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel, joined Inside the Market editor Darcy Keith to discuss how investors should prepare their portfolios. Mr. Gilliland, who has been in wealth management for more than two decades, discussed his market outlook and various strategies for income investors in a rising interest rate environment, including where to hunt for the best dividend stocks at this point in the economic cycle.

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