READING, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 30: Christian Wade of London Wasps leaves the pitch after a suspected ankle injury during the Aviva Premiership Rugby match between London Irish and London Wasps at the Madejski Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Reading, England. (Photo by Rob Munro/Getty Images) LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Busting over the gain-line on numerous occasions, Billy Vunipola also exposed a lack of brawn that may hinder the Wallabies. Former captain James Horwill cannot find form and though Ben Mowen is a canny tactician, he is not an intimidating specimen. Interestingly, in each of their tour matches except the 50-20 thrashing of Italy, Australia missed more tackles than their opponents. Now, if only the northern hemisphere boys were more clinical…oh, we’re back to the start.These three teams have patent flaws, which will make Pool A an even more fascinating place. With some 21 months to run until Rugby World Cup 2015’s opening ceremony, there is plenty of scope to iron them out through wise selection and coaching, but predictions this far out are impossible. One absolute certainty is that the quarter-final qualifiers will deserve their prize. For the runner-up, that is probably a tie against South Africa, too. It doesn’t get easier. Full-blooded encounter: England and Australia have been in a few feisty contests in their time – and will again in 2015By Charlie MorganThe confirmation of kick-off times last Wednesday reaffirmed it before Saturday’s Millennium Stadium ding-dong drove the point home. Pool A at Rugby World Cup 2015 is going to be phenomenally tight and utterly compelling – not to mention deadly.First things first, there are still two more spaces to fill, officially termed ‘Oceania 1’ and ‘Play-off winner.’ Fiji are likely to fill the former, and should bring a cocktail of shuddering hits, erratic attacking brilliance and ill-discipline if their performances over the past month are anything to go by.Big fish wriggling free: Warburton for Wales v EnglandThere is still a long way to go for the final spot to be decided via a complicated repechage, but the likes of Russia, Spain and Sri Lanka remain in contention. Whoever makes it has a seriously tough task. A trio of big fish will thrash furiously to escape this claustrophobic pool into the last eight.The high-stakes round robin between Australia, England and Wales heads to Twickenham on three consecutive weekends from Friday September 26, 2015. Crucially, Warren Gatland and co. are only in Cardiff for the two more straightforward assignments. Each fixture takes place under floodlights, so while later starts are sure to cause carnage on post-match public transport, the encounters will get the electric atmosphere they merit.Boxing sages often say contrasting styles make fights. This is no different. You only have to glance at the meetings between these sides in 2013 to establish that. Back in March, Stuart Lancaster’s charges capitulated under a tsunami of passion, power and Justin Tipuric’s energy. Six months later, England ground Australia down in a stuttering performance salvaged by Mike Brown’s spark and the pack’s strong scrummaging. Then Wales got beaten by the Wallabies’ best on Saturday.Sam Warburton and Dan Lydiate were out-worked at the breakdown by Michael Hooper and Scott Fardy, Will Genia fizzed and Quade Cooper wreaked havoc by releasing his wrecking-ball, Israel Folau. Worryingly for Gatland, the game could still have been won but for crippling lineout inaccuracies and concentration lapses. An 18-game losing streak against southern hemisphere opposition clearly creates psychological snags. Not far from the breakdown: Scott FardyWere these results to repeat themselves in two years’ time, it would be England heading for the exit (under the assumption that Wales’ 2007 loss to Fiji does not repeat itself). As hosts of the tournament, that is simply unthinkable.Much has been made about the dearth of creativity behind Graham Rowntree’s world-beating pack, and rightly so. Long-term injuries to Marland Yarde, Christian Wade and Manu Tuilagi now mean England’s three game-turning talents won’t play together until at least the June tour of New Zealand. Stunted by indecision and inadequate skills, the midfield presents more problems. But the same could be said of Wales there.Lions Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies have been conspicuous by their absence this month. Davies broke the South African line twice with two carries during a 12-minute cameo before he damaged a pectoral muscle and although Scott and Owen Williams have had their moments, they cannot offer the same incision. Likewise, fly-half is an issue. Rhys Priestland is calling odd shots – evidenced by his last-gasp grubber on Saturday – and Gatland doesn’t appear to trust James Hook. Like Owen Farrell, Dan Biggar churns out the basics in an unfussy manner without ever threatening to rule the match.Compare that with Australia’s three-quarters. Handed extra responsibility by former Reds mentor Ewen McKenzie, Cooper is being managed expertly and consequently hitting the very heights of his considerable powers. Outside him, Christian Leali’ifano and exceptional 91-capper Adam Ashley-Cooper have all bases covered. With Fardy and Hooper hugely effective at manufacturing quick ball – don’t forget David Pocock is still to return as well – they thrive in fast-paced clashes. But despite undeniable momentum on the back of a year that did seem doomed, weaknesses remain.Game-changer chopped: Christian WadeRichard Hibbard spent last week insisting that the Australian scrum is not an Achilles heel any more. Frankly, I don’t buy that. Mako Vunipola and Dan Cole made it look very flimsy, while Wales were extraordinarily denied a chance to attack the set-piece before 46 minutes had elapsed. Had he been fit, Adam Jones would have certainly fancied his chances of forcing a couple of early penalties out of James Slipper.
Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Related Articles Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Signs Indicate More Wage Growth is Coming, But It Can Still Be Tough to Accurately Predict The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Subscribe While recent signs indicate that wage growth may be on the rise, many factors can make trends in wage growth difficult to predict, according to a recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.Cleveland Fed VP and economist Edward S. Knotek II noted in the report the importance of wage growth to the economy, since household income drives consumer spending, which in turn drives the bulk of economic activity. But while the unemployment rate has fallen steadily in the last five years (from 9.8 percent in January 2010 to 5.5. percent in March 2015), wage growth has remained steady during that period, at an annual rate of about 2 percent.However, the 5.5 percent unemployment rate, which is consistent with many analysts’ and policymakers’ assessment of relatively normal economic conditions, and there have been greater increases among wage growth in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Cost Index (2.8 percent year-over-year growth in private industry compensation from January 2010 to March 2015). These factors, combined with the announcement from many businesses, including notable retail chains, that say they intend to raise wages indicate that greater wage growth is on the horizon.Knotek states in his report that despite recent signs pointing to an imminent increase in worker compensation, factors such as slack in the labor market, bargaining power, worker productivity, inflation, and many other variables and factors, make wage growth impossible to accurately forecast.Three models were used in the Cleveland Fed report to make the point that wage growth can be impossible to accurately predict for the Employment Cost Index (ECI, which is a measure of wages, salaries, and benefits): first, a Bayesian vector autoregression (BVAR), which includes ECI growth, unemployment rate, productivity, inflation, and other macroeconomic data; second, information from businesses to forecast growth in the ECI; and third, a “random walk” model, which is a simple model that assumes future year-over-year ECI growth will equal its most recently observed value.Using the BVAR, the possibility exists that a declining unemployment rate could put upward pressure on wage growth, but wage growth could also be influenced by other factors such as productivity and inflation, according to Knotek. Using data through the end of 2014, Knotek’s wage growth forecast using the BVAR showed an increase of about 3 percent in ECI by the end of 2017.In the second model, Knotek used the survey results from the National Federation of Independent Business monthly survey which reports the net percentages of small business responding in the survey who said they plan to increase worker compensation in the next three months or who have increased it over the previous three months. The forecast using this model accurately predicted the annual growth rate of 2.8 percent for Q1 2015, but showed that ECI growth would taper off toward the end of 2017 down to about a 2.5 percent annual growth rate.Knoteck found the random walk model to be the most reliable of the three models to forecast wage growth.”By construction, the random walk forecast calls for ECI growth to be steady at a little under 2 and a half percent for the next three years,” Knotek said. “Of course, if I were to redo the forecasts using the most recent ECI reading of 2.8 percent, the random walk model would now call for that rate of ECI growth to persist going forward.” About Author: Brian Honea in Daily Dose, Featured, Market Studies, News Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Labor Market U.S. Economy Wage Growth 2015-05-11 Brian Honea Brian Honea’s writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master’s degree from Amberton University in Garland. 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