Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Left Over: The Fundamental(ist) Reasons for It All…..

Rise of the ‘precariat,’ the global scourge of precarious jobs Barely one in four of the global workforce has a stable job, UN reports

By Brian Stewart, CBC News Posted: Jun 01, 2015 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 01, 2015 8:36 AM ET

Back in the 7-‘s, when i was a young thing just learning about Zero Population Growth, I decided it was probably not a great idea to have children..I was single and determined to stay that way, had little income to spare, and I sincerely believed that things were going to get much worse due to overpopulation (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Harper Record on Jobs, 2006 to 2014

Here is the link to a short study I have done for the Broadbent Institute on the Harper Record on Jobs from 2006 to 2014 based on annual averages from the Labour Force Survey.

Coverage in today’s Toronto Star is here.

The basic findings, that there is still a lot of slack in the job market compared to the pre recession period (especially for youth) and that there has been a heavy tilt to part time work (one in three of the new jobs), will come as no surprise to readers of this blog.

What I found a bit more (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Poilievre promoted to employment minister

Jason Kenney has been promoted to Minister of National Defence, and Pierre Poilievre has been tapped to replace him at Employment and Social Development Canada.

Sigh. It seems like such a short time ago that I railed against Jason Kenney’s first tweet as Minister of ESDC. At least Kenney’s tweet had something to do with employment and jobs.

Pierre Poilievre, for those of you who do not follow Question Period, has a penchant for absurdly working government talking points into conversation. His first tweet as employment minister does just that, and foreshadows what we might expect from him over the (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: ROCHON: Harper in closet over the economy as Canada heads toward another recession

This guest blog post has been written by Louis-Philippe Rochon.

You can follow him on Twitter @Lprochon

Harper’s recent incarnation as an anti-terrorist crusader has caught many Canadians by surprise. Harper is spending considerable political energy beating the drums of war against terrorists, and introducing a far-reaching, and much condemned, bill aimed at restricting free speech, and increasing police powers. But could this move hide a more cynical purpose? Can there be an ulterior motive?

I think there is, and the reason is quite simple. It’s the economy. Seven years after the beginning of the crisis, and 4 years (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Rochon Asks: “Is the Canadian economy unraveling?”

In a recent CBC blog post, Louis-Philippe Rochon assesses the current state of the Canadian economy.

The link to the blog post is here.

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon.

The Progressive Economics Forum: Seccareccia on Greece, Austerity and the Eurozone

Over at the blog of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, Ottawa U professor Mario Seccareccia has given an interview titled “Greece Shows the Limits of Austerity in the Eurozone. What Now?”

The interview can be read here.

The Progressive Economics Forum: Rochon on the Bank of Canada’s Decision to Lower the Rate of Interest

Louis-Philippe Rochon—who now blogs for CBC—argues that almost nobody had been expecting the Bank of Canada’s recent decision to lower the rate of interest.

His post can be found here.

Follow him on Twitter @Lprochon.

Montreal Simon: The Bank of Canada Governor and the Young Canadian Slaves

About half the young Canadians I know are either unemployed or have lousy low paying jobs.Jobs with no guaranteed hours, no job security, no benefits, no nothing.They are exploited like slaves in their own country, and are struggling to survive.So you can imagine how I feel about Stephen Poloz's idiot idea. Read more »

The Progressive Economics Forum: Minimum Wages and Employment Outcomes

Last week my Unifor colleague Jordan Brennan and I published a study through the CCPA Ontario office examining the historical empirical evidence regarding the link between changes in minimum wages and employment outcomes. We find there is no robust evidence in Canadian historical data that increases in real minimum wages cause either lower employment or higher unemployment, even when we focus on key segments of the labour market that are most reliant on low-wage labour (including youth and the retail and hospitality sectors).

The full study, titled Dispelling Minimum Wage Mythology: The Minimum Wage and the Impact on Jobs in (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Labour market musings

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…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Should Welfare Recipients Try Harder to Find Work?

This morning the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation released a new report about “motivational interviewing” for welfare recipients. The link to the full report is here, and the link to the executive summary is here.

Authored by Reuben Ford, Jenn Dixon, Shek-wai Hui, Isaac Kwakye and Danielle Patry, the study reports on a recent randomized controlled trial done on long-term recipients of social assistance in British Columbia. The research took place between September 2012 and March 2013. There were a total of 154 research participants; 76 of the individuals were in the “treatment group,” while 78 were in (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Industrious immigrant vs idle Indigenous meets reality

Here’s a familiar trope: immigrants are industrious and hard-working. Here’s another, opposite trope: First Nations are idle and lazy. And here’s a graph that beautifully calls into question this neat pair of stereotypes.

Source: Angella McEwen, Progressive Economics Forum.

It turns out that off-reserve First Nations workers and recent immigrants face the same unemployment rate – one that is much higher than that faced by workers born in Canada. As Angella MacEwen, who posted this graph, points out it highlights that “there are systemic barriers that need to be addressed” in the labour market.

On the one hand, there is (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Youth unemployment reaches record high – English – ANSA.it

Youth unemployment reaches record high – English – ANSA.it.

(ANSA) – Rome, July 31 – Unemployment among young Italians climbed last month to 43.7%, a level not seen in 37 years, according to statistics Thursday that presented further evidence of the continuing weakness in the country’s lackluster economy.

The jobless rate among Italians aged 15 to 24 rose from a revised 43.1% in May, said national statistical agency Istat, adding that June’s level of 43.7% was the highest since it began keeping quarterly jobs statistics in 1977.

“The economic situation is less than favourable,” said Economy (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Three reasons why Ottawa’s Temporary Foreign Workers Program ‘reforms’ likely mean little

There’s always been a worldwide pool of skilled and unskilled employees like these fellows for jobs in North America – immigration. Below: Employment Minister Jason Kenney and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander.

Canadians are within their rights to be highly skeptical of the long list of changes to the Harper Government’s Temporary Foreign Workers Program announced yesterday by Employment Minister Jason Kenney.

Indeed, we would be nuts to be anything but skeptical about this effort by the government to “change the channel” on what really is a national scandal.

First, there has simply never been any reason for a temporary worker (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Job Vacancies Falling

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…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Labour market stagnant

Erin has already commented that the tiny silver lining of 26,000 net new jobs in May covers a net loss of full-time jobs. In fact, if you compare this May to May 2013, we see that all of the net job gain in the past 12 months is part-time work too.

To look at the trends, I broke down employment growth since October 2008 into part-time and full-time jobs. This shows that full-time job growth has been pretty much stagnant since January 2013.

While we expect to see stronger growth in part time work earlier in a recovery, here we (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Rental Housing in Yellowknife

Yesterday I blogged about rental housing in Yellowknife, over at the Northern Public Affairs web site. Specifically, I blogged about a recent announcement by the city’s largest for-profit landlord that it plans to “tighten” its policies vis-a-vis renting to recipients of “income assistance” (which, in most parts of Canada, is known generically as social assistance). Among other things, I suggest in the post that the for-profit landlord in question may be in a monopoly situation. The link to my blog post is here.

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- Tavis Smiley discusses the need to speak realistically about the causes and effects of poverty, rather than simply dismissing real human costs as somebody else’s fault and problem. And similarly, Tim Stacey comments on the appalling “empathy gap” – which sees upper-class mouthpieces complaining about the cost of luxuries while claiming that the poor have it easier in trying to scrape together the essentials of life.

- But for the most compelling indication as to the consequences of policies designed to attack rather than assist those in need, CBC reports on a (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Hudak job cuts impact on communities

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…)

Parchment in the Fire: Why The European Commission Is Wrong: The Case Of Spain – Social Europe Journal

Why The European Commission Is Wrong: The Case Of Spain – Social Europe Journal.

The Vice President of the European Commission, Olli Rehn, in charge of Economic and Monetary Affairs is becoming the most unpopular EU Commissioner in Spain. He emphasizes over and over again that labor market rigidities are causing the high unemployment in Spain. “Labor rigidities” is a polite way of accusing the Spanish trade unions for the high rate of unemployment that exists in Spain. Indeed, labor rigidities are supposed to mean that, because the unions have been able to get job security for some workers, employers (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Tim Hudak, job-killer

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…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: If underemployed workers counted …

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…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Austerity Bites, Employment Rate Falls Again

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…)

Political Eh-conomy: May (we struggle to work less during the) Day

The struggle for fewer working hours during the day, and by extension the week and the year, was long a cornerstone of organized workers. Both the struggle and the actual number of hours worked has stalled of late. Annual hours worked in Canada, the US and UK have all followed a similar pattern, flat-lining since the 1980s.

Figure 1. Average annual hours worked in the Anglo-Saxon economies (Source: OECD).

Looking at weekly hours in a longer perspective, the last several decades look even more anomalous. Keynes, who famously predicted that we would be working 15 hour weeks by the 2030s, is surely turning in (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Joshua Holland writes that for all the social and cultural factors contribution to U.S. sickness and death, inequality ranks at the top of the list: Here in the United States, our high level of income inequality corresponds with 883, 914 unnecessary deaths each year. More specifically, the report concluded that if we had an income distribution more like that of the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland — or eleven other wealthy countries — every year, about one in three deaths in the US could be avoided.

Put that into perspective. According to (Read more…)