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The Progressive Economics Forum: How do you solve a problem like precarious work?

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has taken quite a bit of heat for his tone deaf comments about the reality of precarious work, specifically saying that we should just “get used to job churn”. But his policy prescription, an improved social safety net, is a quite valid part of the solution. But must we accept that . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: How do you solve a problem like precarious work?

The Progressive Economics Forum: Mixed bag for EI in Budget 2016

The 2016 Budget announces some much needed improvements to Employment Insurance, and leaves room for more changes in the near future. The changes announced in the budget are largely positive, but many details are still missing, and some stinkers from Harper are left unchanged. The Good … Significantly, the government will reduce the 910 hours threshold […] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Mixed bag for EI in Budget 2016

The Progressive Economics Forum: Making Real Change Happen

Today’s throne speech was notable for its brevity, but there were certainly a lot of priorities packed into those 1600 words. A small selection: “The Government will, as an immediate priority, deliver a tax cut for the middle class.” This is quite easily my least favourite action promised by the new Liberal government. The plan increases the […] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Making Real Change Happen

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Myth of STEM Degrees: STEM as the Canary in the Coal Mine

What follow is a guest blog post from Glenn Burley:

If Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and professional fields like medicine, law, and dentistry are the so-called golden ticket to a good job in today’s labour market, what does that say about the current and future health of our economy?

The myth of . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: The Myth of STEM Degrees: STEM as the Canary in the Coal Mine

The Progressive Economics Forum: Transforming Precarious Work

The Ontario government has launched a review of their Labour Relations Act and Employment Standards Act. The premise is that the workplace has changed, and Ontario labour law no longer does as much as it should to protect vulnerable workers.

The Workers’ Action Centre in Toronto took this opportunity to document the myriad ways that . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Transforming Precarious Work

The Progressive Economics Forum: Job Numbers Surprise

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.

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Job Numbers Surprise

The Progressive Economics Forum: Indigenous Workers in Canada

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 . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Indigenous Workers in Canada

The Progressive Economics Forum: Alex Usher Needs to Consider Taxation

My debate with Alex Usher on tuition fees continues, over at the Academic Matters web site. In my latest post, I make the case that Mr. Usher needs to consider Canada’s tax system when suggesting that reducing tuition fees is “regressive.”

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: CLC Convention 2014

This week’s convention of the Canadian Labour Congress was more eventful than it has been in some time. There was a change of leadership and an energy palpable even from afar via social media. Of course, four days of convention does not a labour movement make and so today I’ve gathered together three guests to . . . → Read More: Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: CLC Convention 2014

The Progressive Economics Forum: Alex Usher on Jason Kenney’s Enthusiasm for German Apprenticeships

Alex Usher, one of Canada’s most well-known post-secondary education pundits, has just written a blog post offering some sober second thought on Minister Kenney’s recent enthusiasm for Germany’s apprenticeship system.

Mr. Usher’s blog post can be accessed here.

The Progressive Economics Forum: Where the jobs at?

Mark it in your calendars folks, today, March 25, 2014 is the day that the Canadian labour shortage** myth officially died. (It may, of course, be resurrected as a zombie).

Responding to a Parliamentary Budget Office report that refutes the existence of a labour shortage or skills mismatch in Canada, Jason . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Where the jobs at?

The Progressive Economics Forum: Millennials, School, and Work

Given that the 2014 Federal Budget talked a lot about youth unemployment, but didn’t actually do very much, I thought it would be worth going over a few trends for the 20-29 age group.

Young workers are usually hit harder by recessions, and this most recent recession was no different. You can see significant spikes . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Millennials, School, and Work

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 . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: How to calculate un(der)employment

The Progressive Economics Forum: Young Workers Needed So Much More from Budget 2014

Recessions are always harder on young workers, but we are nearly five years out from the end of the last recession and there is still no recovery in sight for young workers.

Between October 2008 and January 2014, there was an increase of 100,000 unemployed young workers (15-29), so that there are now 540,000 unemployed . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Young Workers Needed So Much More from Budget 2014

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 . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Do High Tuition Fees Make for Good Public Policy?

The Progressive Economics Forum: Are Younger and Older Workers Fighting for Jobs?

There was a spate of media stories recently on a US report finding that increased employment of seniors has no negative impacts at all on young people also seeking work.

In fact, the study by leading US economist Alicia Munnell, looking mainly at the experience of US states, did say that the so-called “lump of . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Are Younger and Older Workers Fighting for Jobs?

The Progressive Economics Forum: Youth Still Stuck in the Recession (Dude, where’s my job?)

The real unemployment rate for Canadians over 25 was 8.8% in April. Not great, for sure, but slightly better than it was in 2009.

For youth 15-24, it was up from last April – to 20.9% – so more than 1 in 5 youth are looking for work and can’t find it. In Ontario, it’s . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Youth Still Stuck in the Recession (Dude, where’s my job?)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Boost the Minimum Wage, Boost the Economy

A version of this article appeared today in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab.

(This version includes references to the debate plus charts and graphs from data specially tabulated from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. The data don’t include the self-employed.)

President Obama put the idea of raising the minimum wage on the radar in . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Boost the Minimum Wage, Boost the Economy

The Progressive Economics Forum: Welcome to the Wageless Recovery

The Harper government likes to remind Canadians that we’ve done better than most developed nations in bouncing back from the global economic crisis. But digging into the data shows why many people might be having trouble cheering this news: wages have not kept pace with inflation, and new hires are making 40 per cent less . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Welcome to the Wageless Recovery

The Progressive Economics Forum: Time to Rethink The Way We Fund Higher Education

This September, like every year, a new group of high school graduates headed to college or university to pursue higher education. But today’s generation of students is in for a very different experience from the ones their parents had.

On campuses across the country shiny new buildings are popping up, bearing corporate logos or the . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Time to Rethink The Way We Fund Higher Education

The Progressive Economics Forum: We can do better

So there were 52,000 new jobs in September, but we needed 72,500 to keep up with labour force growth. 33,800 of those jobs were self-employed workers, and none of those jobs were for workers under 25.

In the past year, men over 25 have been adding full time jobs, with 116,000 more full time jobs . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: We can do better

The Progressive Economics Forum: Happy Crashiversary! Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

Four years after Lehman Brothers collapsed, it’s time to take stock of things by asking a stock political question: Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

Where you stand on the answer depends on where you sit. Many people, businesses and communities are still struggling to regain the ground they lost . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Happy Crashiversary! Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

The Progressive Economics Forum: Measuring Youth Unemployment

Miles Corak has a great post up about Paul Krugman’s “favourite gauge” of unemployment, the employment rate. Looking at the ratio of employed to population for working age men, he shows that the employment recovery in Canada appears to have stalled, moving very little since January 2011.

The graph below shows youth unemployment (right axis) . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Measuring Youth Unemployment

The Progressive Economics Forum: July Job Numbers Fall

Statistics Canada’s monthly job numbers are out, and it doesn’t look great. After big jumps in March and April, there was little change in May and June. In July, total employment fell by 30,000, mostly due to a fall in the numbers of women part-time workers over 55. The unemployment rate rose to 7.3%.

Employment . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: July Job Numbers Fall

The Progressive Economics Forum: Youth employment trends

As a follow-up to my last post, where I showed R7 – the unemployment rate that includes involuntary part-time, I was curious what the longer term trend was regarding youth and part-time employment.

As you can see in the graph below, the proportion of 20-24 year olds engaged in full-time work has steadily fallen since . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Youth employment trends