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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 […]

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 Kenney claims the government […]

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 […]

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 […]

Chipping Away at Access to E.I.

There were two announcements this week around E.I. – both framed as “being more responsive to local labour market conditions”. What that really means is that in the three territories and Prince Edward Island, access to E.I. will become more difficult in urban areas. Employment Insurance is divided into 58 separate economic regions, and access […]

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. The paid internships announced in this budget (some of which is previously announced spending) will only reach a maximum of 2,500 individuals per […]

2013 Left Us Wanting More … Jobs

The December jobs report was a spectacular finish (not in a good way) to a rather discouraging year for the Canadian labour market. When the dust had settled, it turned out that employment growth averaged 8,500 per month in 2013, compared with 25,900 in 2012. This anaemic job growth was not enough to keep up with the growth in the labour force, as on average, […]

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 […]

Flaherty’s Funny Math with the EI Surplus

The Parliamentary Budget Office has come out with a report, suggesting that the Conservatives will likely balance the budget ahead of schedule. But, and it’s a big but, if there were no EI surplus, there would be no balanced budget in 2016. And the annual surplus in the EI Operating Account is no small potatoes […]

Raise Wages, Train Workers

I have been hard on our new Employment and Social Development Minister, Jason Kenney, for buying into a widespread myth about labour shortages and skill mismatches in Canada. So, to give credit where credit is due, it appears Minister Kenney has been listening to the growing chorus of voices disputing the existence of a labour shortage […]

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 […]

More on alternate measures of unemployment

I’ve mentioned differences between Statistics Canada’s R8 measure and the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics’ U6 measure before, but I think it’s worth covering again. R8 is Canada’s broadest measure of unemployment, and includes discouraged workers, workers waiting for a job to begin, and a portion of involuntary part-time. The most recent value for R8 […]

Unemployment is higher than you think.

Every month, Statistics Canada comes out with the unemployment rate, and every month it gets a lot of attention. But the unemployment rate provides quite limited information about the actual health of the labour market. The addition of two other pieces of information nearly doubles the unemployment rate: the proportion of the labour market employed […]

About those jobs without people, Minister Kenney

Upon being appointed Minister of the newly renamed “Employment and Social Development” (formerly HRSDC), Mr. Kenney tweeted his view on the Canadian labour market: “I will work hard to end the paradox of too many people without jobs in an economy that has too many jobs without people. #shuffle13“ Coincidentally, perhaps, the most recent Statistics […]

Data, data, everywhere: but

So, the National Household Survey’s Portrait of Canada’s labour force is out, and I can’t help but think of Donald Rumsfeld’s known unknowns. We know that we don’t know anything about those who didn’t respond to the survey, or how they might be different from those that did. We also know that there are some […]

April EI Numbers Bleak

So Erin talked about falling EI benefits last month, which got me thinking about the longer term trend here. Comparing seasonally unadjusted data for the last five Aprils, we see a steady decline in the proportion of unemployed workers that are receiving EI.  Since April 2009, unemployment in Canada has fallen by nearly 150,000, which […]

Business journalists go on the attack; demonize Atlantic seasonal workers

The following is a guest post by Nick Fillmore. National business journalists and columnists have bought into Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s demeaning view that folks in the Atlantic region are backward and have a defeatist attitude. Framed in contemptuous language, they’re promoting untested economic ideas that, if adopted, would seriously damage the economy – and […]

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 closer to […]

Fact-Busting HRSDC’s “Just the Facts” on EI Changes

Attempts by the Harper Government to set the record straight over recent changes to EI simply gloss over many valid concerns that have been expressed by critics. I share a couple of EI Change Fact-Busters in solidarity with upcoming rallys on EI that will be taking place across Canada this weekend. Minister Finley states: “No one […]

Crowley’s Red Hot Labour Market

Brian Lee Crowley’s latest column shows he’s a glass-half-full kinda guy. We shouldn’t be worried about unemployment because a) it’s old-fashioned, b) Boomers had it worse (and now they’re getting old) c) we’re doing better than the U.S., and d) it’s really only young people and immigrants that are unemployed. This is a relief. So I […]

EI and CPP Appeals consolidation begins

Regulations guiding the new Social Security Tribunal came into force April 1st, 2013, and are available online at the Canada Gazette.  The SST combines the first and second level of client appeals for CPP, OAS, and EI into one tribunal. HRSDC expects that the changes will result in $25 million in annual savings, due to […]

Back to Balance in Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia provincial government is set to introduce its promised balanced budget this year. The Nova Scotia Alternative Budget, released today, proposes some concrete choices rooted in Nova Scotia communities. Rather than pay down debt, the NS-APB prioritizes balancing the social debt threatening Nova Scotia. Can a budget really be considered balanced when unemployment […]

EI: It’s all in the details

What not to say in an interview if you’re on EI, and other nightmares The latest detail to emerge about the recent changes to EI is from the Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles.  The Digest is a guide to enforcing Employment Insurance, with definitions of key terms, and elaborates on expectations of EI claimants and […]

Getting the Facts Straight on EI Changes

In a guest post at the Broadbent Institute, I flesh out some of the impacts of EI changes with three (fairly typical) hypothetical stories of unemployed Canadians. There are certainly more extreme consequences felt by some already.  At least these folks have access to the Board of Referees. Many fear that access to natural justice […]

Job Market Worsens in January

After five months of  job gains, the job market turned dismal in January. Officially, the unemployment rate fell from 7.1% to 7.0%, the lowest it’s been since December 2008. This is despite a loss of 45,800 jobs (not counting self-employment). The explanation is an out flux of discouraged workers from the labour market, which caused the ‘real’ […]

Labour Market still weak: Bank of Canada

The Bank of Canada released their January 2013 Monetary Policy Report.  Of note, the Bank downgraded its growth expectation for 2013 to 2.0% from 2.3%, and expects the Canadian economy will not reach full potential until late 2014. Several key points in the January MPR reinforce what progressive economists have been saying about the Canadian […]

Pushback on EI Changes

It has been a week and a half since changes to the definition of suitable employment and reasonable job search have come into effect.  Already, a single mom in Prince Edward Island, Marlene Giersdorf,  has become a symbol of the hardship these changes are likely to have on many Canadians in the coming months. When she […]