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The Progressive Economics Forum

Wages: Up, Down, or Sideways?

We’re coming up to a Federal Election, and one where “The Economy” will likely be a central battlefield. As such, we’re going to hear many claims and counter-claims that support the view that Stephen Harper is either the Greatest or Worst Prime Minister ever. One point of contention is wages. Part of the problem are the […]

Budget Balanced with EI Surplus

Mr. Oliver likes to say that most of the growth in jobs has been high wage, private sector growth. This is simply not true. Two-thirds of net new jobs created between 2008 and 2014 pay below average wages. Own account self-employment, those self employed workers who have no employees, have dominated growth in self-employment, and […]

Bank of Canada Holds Rate Steady

The Bank of Canada released it’s quarterly Monetary Report today, and held rates firm at 3/4 per cent. The Bank cut growth expectations for 2015, but expects Canada’s GDP to rebound in 2016. Much of this rebound will depend on a growing U.S. and global economy, and on the ability of Canadian exporters to capture a bigger […]

Workers Link $15 Minimum Wage to Decent Work

Wednesday April 15th is a global day of action on a $15 minimum wage and decent work. Actions are happening across the U.S., and in BC, Ontario, and Nova Scotia. Both in the US and in Canada, workers are making links between decent wages and other employment standards.  The Ontario campaign is named $15 and Fairness, […]

Jobs Gains Skew Part-time, Over 55

The Canadian labour market added 29,000 jobs in March, beating expectations. Underneath the headline, though, the numbers aren’t as rosy. A jump of 57,000 part-time jobs masked the loss of 28,000 full-time jobs between February and March. Given the jumpy nature of monthly LFS data, I’ve decided to base most of my analysis on quarterly […]

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 […]

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 […]

January Job Gain Part-time, Self-employment

As usual, the monthly Labour Force Survey numbers headline seems to tell a different story than the underlying numbers. According to the LFS, Canada added 35,000 jobs in January. A statistically significant number of jobs, hurray! But wait. Those were all part time jobs. We lost 10,000 full time jobs, and added 47,000 part-time jobs. […]

Banks and Balanced Budgets

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 […]

Low Oil Prices, Good or Bad for Canada?

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 […]

Bank of Canada, Exports, and LMI

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 […]

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. […]

Labour market musings

Just a short post ahead of the job numbers that come out from Statistics Canada tomorrow. Five years after the end of the last recession, and Canada’s labour market is still limping along. And it seems to have taken a turn for the worse recently. While the Conservative government crows about one million net new […]

Who’s afraid of free trade with Europe?

The prospect of freer trade with European nations is generally popular among Canadians. And why shouldn’t it be? Doesn’t the Canadian left repeatedly point to the advantages of many European social and economic institutions? Who could argue with lower prices for European cheese, wine, or chocolate? After all, we’ve been waiting for years for the […]

Liberal’s EI Plan Rests on Bad Math

Joe Oliver 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 […]

Of Rising Tides and Sinking Boats

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 […]

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Job Numbers

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 […]

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 […]

Is Canada becoming a ‘part-time’ nation – the value of LMI

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, […]

EI Needs To Increase Access Not Lower Premiums

Erin does a nice job of documenting the fact that the number of EI recipients is falling, despite the fact that unemployment is rising. But it seems to me that the crisis in EI is forever falling on deaf ears. Even though only 37.5% of unemployed workers are receiving EI, pundits and politicians feel that the […]

Dismal job numbers for June

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 […]

How do we measure job vacancies – beyond Kijiji

The Federal Government and Minister Kenney got a pretty good ribbing over their flawed methodology in measuring job vacancies – and with good reason. Anyone who has used Kijiji for anything knows how unreliable it can be. The difference between Statistics Canada’s method and one that includes Kijiji is pretty easy to communicate. But there […]

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 […]

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 […]

On the job: Why unions matter

The Parkland Institute is releasing a report on why unions matter. I contributed to the report, which was spurred by Alberta government restrictions on collective bargaining and anti-union labour law. Perhaps not surprising for readers of this blog, we found that labour unions play an important role in improving wages, improving workplace safety, and reducing inequality […]

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 […]

Labour Market Data Sitting on a Shelf

The Globe and Mail reports that the results of the Workplace Survey have sat on a shelf for two years due to cuts at Statistics Canada and a lack of funding from Employment and Social Development Canada. This, while the Minister for ESDC says that Canada’s labour market information is inadequate and “we need better data”. Perhaps the […]

Women’s Work

My mother says that when she graduated from high school in 1972, she had two occupational choices: nurse or teacher. Nurse and teacher are still the most popular choices for women entering the workforce. Statistics Canada said that more than 20% of all female university graduates in 2011 were teachers or nurses, unchanged from 1991. […]

About those people without jobs …

Statistics Canada released their latest job vacancy data today, giving us the three month average ending in January 2014. There were 6.7 unemployed workers for every job vacancy, higher than the past two Januaries. Counting un(der)employed workers gives us a ratio of 14.2 un(der)employed workers for every job vacancy. That’s a lot of workers without […]

He-cession to She-precarious recovery?

As Armine has pointed out recently, women play a key role in economic recoveries: (She says it so well, I have to quote her directly:) Every recession is a “he-cession”: men lose more jobs than women in a downturn because the first thing to slow is the production in goods-producing industries that are typically male-dominated […]