Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

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…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: More Evidence that Temporary Foreign Worker Program Takes Jobs Away from Canadians

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…)

Larry Hubich's Blog: Tax the Rich: An Animated Fairy Tale

The Progressive Economics Forum: How to calculate un(der)employment

For my day job, I wrote a thing about underemployment in Canada. I thought that it might be useful to post my method here so that other interested parties could calculate it for themselves.

The headline unemployment rate counts all those who are unemployed, available to start work, and actively looking for a job. The internationally accepted measure of the unmet need for employment includes those who are unemployed and adds those who are partially employed but want more hours, those who aren’t able to start work right away, and those who are discouraged from actively looking, but would accept (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: The Disastrous Labor And Social Reforms In Spain

The Disastrous Labor And Social Reforms In Spain.

By Vincente Navarro

Spain, under pressure from the Troika (International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank) has gone through three major labor market reforms, presented to the public as necessary in order to reduce the scandalous high level of unemployment: 25% in general and 52% among the young.

Spain (and Greece) are on the top of the unemployment league. Since the beginning of the crisis, both the socialist (PSOE) and conservative (PP) governments have pursued reforms aimed at what they called ‘deregulation of the labor market,’ assuming that the problem (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Do High Tuition Fees Make for Good Public Policy?

This afternoon I gave a presentation to Professor Ted Jackson’s graduate seminar course on higher education, taught in Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration. The link to my slide deck, titled “The Political Economy of Post-Secondary Education in Canada,” can be found here.

Points I raised in the presentation include the following:

-Tuition fees have been rising in Canada for roughly the past three decades. Yet, individuals in the 25-44 age demographic have the highest levels of household debt in Canada. This raises an important question: Is it good public policy to be saddling this demographic (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Myths of central banking

The Bank of Canada has been in the news lately – or, more precisely, the news has been full of other well-placed people telling our central bankers what to do. In an interview on CTV this past weekend, Jim Flaherty made comments (later retracted) that Canada’s central bank will be pressured to raise interest rates sooner rather than later. On Tuesday, the influential, pro-business Conference Board of Canada also came out with some advice. A Globe and Mail editorial written its chief economist suggested, somewhat surprisingly, that the Bank should target a higher level of inflation, up to 4% from (Read more…)

Parchment in the Fire: Eurozone: A Sluggish economy offers no extra jobs – The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology – europeansting.com

http://europeansting.com/2014/01/09/eurozone-a-sluggish-economy-offers-no-extra-jobs/

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Austerity, crisis, Europe, unemployment

The Progressive Economics Forum: Fewer Jobs Without People In 2013

The most recent Jobs Vacancy statistics are out, and the trend for 2013 so far has been a reduction in the number of job vacancies reported by businesses compared to 2012. The number of job vacancies reported by businesses fell by 41,000 between September 2012 and September 2013, so that even though there were fewer unemployed workers in September 2013, there were more unemployed workers per job vacancy. This has been true for every month in 2013 so far.

 

Data for the Job Vacancy survey started to be collected in January 2011, but it’s released as a three-month rolling (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: No Widespread Labour Shortage, widespread information gaps.

A TD Economics Special Report released on October 22nd debunked the popular economic myth spread by Minister Kenney that there are too many jobs without people. The report looks at changes in employment, unemployment, job vacancy rates, and wages. Job vacancy rates are higher for trades occupations in Western Canada, but overall job vacancy rates are low.

There is no sign of wage pressure, even in occupations with perceived shortages, which the report points out as being quite puzzling. In Saskatchewan, wages for *in demand* occupations are actually growing at a slower rate than the provincial average.

The “No Widespread (Read more…)