The Bank of Canada surprised most analysts this week when it decided to cut rates by 25 basis points. The move comes after the price of oil has tumbled below $50 / barrel, oil producers announced huge cuts to business investment for 2015, Target announced a mass layoff of 17,600 workers in Canada, and the International Monetary Fund warned of a global economic slowdown.
The key message of the January Monetary Policy is that the Canadian economy needs stimulus. The Bank’s view of the Canadian economy stands in sharp contrast to that of the federal government, which is intent on (Read more…)
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere, you’re probably well aware that the price of oil has fallen dramatically, to less than $50 / barrel. What this means for Canada’s economic output & labour markets is not yet clear. But Stephen Poloz at the Bank of Canada has said that he expects the effect to be “not trivial”, and suggested that it might lower the Bank’s GDP expectations by around 0.3 percentage points. Deputy Governor Timothy Lane’s talk on January 13th is good background reading on this topic, and overall he suggested that the effect will be at least somewhat (Read more…)
Much has been made about Stephen Poloz’s decision to abandon ‘forward guidance’ in Bank of Canada rate setting announcements for the time being. Critics bemoan the loss of direction from the Bank. But Poloz’s comments yesterday were chock full of guidance on how the Bank sees Canada’s economic situation.
Having been disappointed by the failure of Canada’s export sector to resume investment or show any signs of life, researchers at the Bank investigated the performance of 2,000 product categories, and found that about 500 of those had very nearly been wiped out following the 2008 – 2009 recession. Further investigation (Read more…)
For the first time in a while, Statistics Canada gives us some good news on the job front. 74,000 net new jobs added in September, certainly nothing to sneeze at. Still, we would need to keep this pace up every month for the next year to close the employment gap left by the last recession.
On the graph below, this month’s huge uptick barely makes a dent. The blue line is how many jobs we have, and the dotted pink line is how many we would have if the employment rate were 63.6%.
This holds true for workers (Read more…)
Just a short post ahead of the job numbers that come out from Statistics Canada tomorrow. We still have so much ground to make up. Five years after the end of the last recession, and Canada’s labour market is still just limping along. And it seems to have taken a turn for the worse recently.
While the Conservative government crows about one million net new jobs, they conveniently forget to mention that we would need to add another 880,000 new jobs to the Canadian economy to catch up to our pre-recession employment rate.
On average, that’s about 73,000 jobs per (Read more…)
Joe Oliver’s recently announced a Small Business Tax Cut, sorry, Job Credit. Economists across the ideological spectrum denounced it as poorly designed.
This opened up an interesting opportunity for a national debate about what we want E.I. to be – coverage right now is at all time lows, and the accumulated deficit from the last recession will soon be repaid in full.
The Liberal Party entered the EI debate by suggesting a one-year EI premium holiday for employers who hire new workers. It’s disappointing that they completely ignored the possibility of expanding access. What’s even worse is that their (Read more…)
Recently, Minister Kenney took to twitter to defend his decision to limit the number of precarious workers entering Alberta through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Again, the minister is to be applauded for his grasp of the situation. His changes do little to fix the actual problem though.
The evidence that he cited was the lack of wage growth among restaurant workers in Alberta. The graph below might not make it clear, but adjusted for inflation, restaurant worker wages in Alberta peaked in 2010, and have fallen since then by over $35 / week. At the same time, the overall (Read more…)
Today Statistics Canada released their first set of job numbers since the ‘oops’ of July 2014. And the news was dismal. The labour market shed 112,000 private sector positions, the largest single month drop in the private sector since, well, forever. Coming on the heels of a mistake is unfortunate, but you have to think that Statistics Canada was extra vigilant this month and checked everything up, down, backwards, and sideways.
Either way, month to month variations are far less meaningful than overall trends, so let’s have a look at those, shall we?
Only workers over 55 have (Read more…)
Statistics Canada reported today that employers cut the number of employees by 98,000 in August, which was largely masked by 87,000 more Canadians identifying themselves as self-employed. As a result, the headline level of “employment” – which includes self-employment – was little changed.
Self-employment ranges from high-income professionals to people eking out a living doing odd jobs. However, when a large increase in self-employment coincides with a large drop in positions paid by an employer, it begs the question of whether Canadians are becoming self-employed by choice or because jobs are not available. One also wonders how many survey respondents (Read more…)
Labour market data in Canada is easily available by sex, age, and region. We spend a great deal of time talking about these factors. More recently Statistics Canada made labour market data available on CANSIM by landed immigrant status, going back to 2006. This factor is less often included in most labour market analysis, and too few know that it is even available.
But if you want to know how racialized workers or Indigenous workers (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples) are doing in the labour force you basically have to rely on the census … oh, wait. And on (Read more…)
Most of the jobs added to the Canadian labour market in 2014 were part-time – prompting headlines such as “Experts fret Canada becoming a nation of part-time workers“.
Are we really a part-time nation? Well, 80% of workers in Canada are full-time, and a large majority of part-time workers choose to work part-time hours. So, no, we are not at the verge of some part-time workopolypse. But the labour market has been changing, driven partly by demographics (aging) and women entering the labour force.
Between 1976 and 2013, the number of core-age women working part-time jobs more than (Read more…)
What a rough week it’s been over at Statistics Canada. It’s a world-renowned statistical agency — though its lustre has been tarnished in recent years by budget cuts, cancelled data programs and series, and the nonsense of the Harper government’s libertarian crusade against the long form census. The problems this week around its Labour Force Survey report for July will certainly contribute to the sense of entropy surrounding this important and valuable institution.
The biggest change in the numbers is that full-time employment is now estimated to have declined by about 20,000, instead of the original 60,000. (Read more…)
Statistics Canada reported today that the number of people receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits fell by 12,070 in May – the largest drop in nearly two years. (The last time Statistics Canada records indicate a larger decrease was 12,670 in July 2012.)
This substantial decline in EI benefits comes as unemployment is rising. The Labour Force Survey indicates that unemployment increased by 15,200 in May and by a further 25,700 in June.
Overall, only 37.5% of unemployed Canadians received EI benefits in May (i.e. 504,080 out of 1,343,800).
The fact that fewer Canadians can access benefits even (Read more…)
Further to Angella’s excellent analysis:
Statistics Canada reported today that unemployment jumped by 25,700 in June because of shrinking employment and a growing labour force. Canada’s labour force expanded because of population growth, even though the participation rate did not increase. The combination of less employment and a larger working-age population depressed the employment rate to 61.4% – its lowest level since January 2010.
The Harper government has long trumpeted having a stronger job market than the US. In June, the unemployment rate rose in Canada but fell in the US. Statistics Canada reports that it is now (Read more…)
Statistics Canada’s release of job numbers for June look truly dismal. The unemployment rate rose to 7.1%, and there was a loss of 9,400 jobs compared to May. Year over year, employment rose by only 72,000. That’s a weak 0.4% and the lowest year-over-year increase since February 2010.
An even worse sign – all of that job growth was concentrated in workers over 65. One industry boasted over 80% of net new jobs year-over-year – health care and social assistance.
While there was an increase in full-time work and a a decline in part-time jobs, total hours worked (Read more…)
The number of job vacancies recorded by Statistics Canada are at a four year low (job vacancy data collection began in January 2011). The number of unemployed persons has changed very little, and so we have a relatively high number of unemployed persons per job vacancy.
Even though the data is not seasonally adjusted, you can see an overall trend toward fewer job vacancies, especially since 2012.
As of March 2014, there were only 206,000 job vacancies for nearly 1.4 million unemployed workers in Canada, giving us 6.8 unemployed workers for every job vacancy. If you (Read more…)
On the surface, today’s employment numbers simply continue a recent trend: employers added some jobs but not enough to keep pace with Canada’s growing labour force. As a result, unemployment edged back up to 7%.
But just below the surface were some even worse developments. Employers actually cut 29,000 full-time positions while adding 55,000 part-time positions in May. Over the past year, the number of hours paid by Canadian employers edged up by only 0.1%, although these hours are now split between more employees.
By industry, the single largest change in May was the loss of 23,000 jobs (Read more…)
Today the Ontario Federation of Labour and CUPE Ontario published calculations I prepared of how Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak’s promise to eliminate 100,000 public sector jobs will be felt at the local level, on cities and communities across the province.
The original OFL release provides info on the magnitude of these impacts for the 15 largest census metropolitan areas across Ontario, for which labour force survey figures are available, a second release has the impacts for smaller communities, while CUPE Ontario has put a map on-line that shows the impact for all the metro areas and a number of smaller cities and towns (or “census (Read more…)
It’s a bit of a headscratcher.
First, Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak builds his whole campaign around a promise to create one million new jobs in Ontario over eight years, then one of his first campaign commitments threats is to reduce the number of Ontario government employees by 100,000, together with a wage freeze for every government workers and lower spending in every area except health care. As revealed by David Reevely, in keeping with his choice of great locations for campaign announcements, Hudak made this austerity announcement at a Barrie country club, where the initiation fee is $9,999 (Read more…)
I’ve written a little bit about the importance of tracking underemployment trends, and this is particularly important when those trends diverge from the headline unemployment rate.
This graph (12 month moving average of unadjusted monthly data) separates unemployed workers and underemployed workers. In recent years the number of unemployed workers has fallen slowly (partially due to falling labour force participation as Jim explains). The number of underemployed workers has not recovered at all from the sharp increase that we saw from the recent recession.
The gap between the two numbers is getting wider, and is mostly due to a (Read more…)
Today’s labour force numbers are ugly, there’s no other word for it. Employment down 29,000 jobs. Paid employment (ie. not counting self-employment) down 46,000 jobs. The only reason the unemployment rate held steady (at 6.9%) is because labour force participation fell again: by almost 2 tenths of a point, to just over 66%. That’s the lowest level of labour force participation since 2001. Convenient for suppressing the headline unemployment rate, but socially destructive and very costly in the long-run (as more and more Canadians lose contact with the labour market).
In a weak macroeconomy, (Read more…)
The Temporary Foreign Workers Program has been increasingly in the spotlight the last few weeks. Many allegations have surfaced about the appalling living and working conditions faced by migrant workers. While much of the media coverage has ignored what is most important, my two guests on this week’s podcast are ready to offer some correctives.
First, Jason Foster speaks about the history of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program and its role in structural changes to Canada’s labour market – changes that have seen working conditions and security decline across the board. Jason teaches at Athabasca University; his research has focused on migrant labour.
Second, Adriana Paz-Ramirez provides more (Read more…)
Yet another report, this time by SFU Public Policy Professor Dominique M. Gross, finds evidence that Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program is bad for domestic workers. The report looks at BC and Alberta specifically and concludes that the expansion of the TFW program between 2007 and 2010 resulted in an increase in unemployment levels by 4.8 percentage points in BC and 3.1 percentage points in Alberta. You can read the full report here or see Tara Carman’s article about it in the Vancouver Sun here.
This report confirms what I found in my recent CCPA report, BC Jobs (Read more…)