Part of Mexico’s appeal to investors is tied into what I think may be the country’s key weakness: inequality. You see, at the lowest-end, labor remains cheap. The Economist points out that in 2003, Mexican pay was three times China’s rates; now it is only 20 percent higher. So Mexican manufacturing is poised for a boom. And while in the past few years Mexico banked on its proximity to the U.S. (lower transport costs) and trade deals like NAFTA to compete with China, it will now be able to manufacture and price products at an advantage.The big question, of course, is whether the export dollars will trickle down. But making this happen will require significant market reforms. In his recent bookBreakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles, Morgan Stanley’s Ruchir Sharma points out how the top 10 Mexican families account for more than a third of the country’s stock market value – an almost unheard of number. “Private cartels produce about 40 percent of the goods that Mexicans consume and charge prices that are 30 percent higher than international averages,” he writes. “Phones, services, soft drinks, and many foodstuffs cost more in Mexico than in the United States.”
One thing is clear – Mexico is not the war-torn wasteland it is often made out to be. Its people have a glorious history, and a hopeful future. This isn’t to say that Mexico is destined to be the next investment hotspot – that’s far too simplistic a way of looking at this. Instead, the numbers suggest the truth is somewhere in between. Mexico has enormous capacity to surprise on the economic stage. But to really shine, it needs to work on developing a vibrant – and bigger – middle class.Obviously, ax throwing and logrolling are not part of the selection criteria.
CareerCast.com suggests lumberjack is the worst job you could have in 2012, while computer programmer ranks at the top.“The top-rated jobs have few physical demands, minimal stress, a good working environment and a strong hiring outlook,” said Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.com’s 2012 Jobs Rated Report. “Conversely, lumberjacks and dairy farmers, two of the worst jobs in the nation, work in physically demanding, precarious, low-paying professions with a weak hiring outlook.”The website ranks occupations based on five areas: environment (physical and emotional), income, outlook, physical demands and stress.CareerCast used statistics from the Department of Labor, and other sources.Based on rankings in each category, software engineer climbed to the top. It was followed by actuary, human resources manager, dental hygienist and financial planner.