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Archive for 'manufacturing'

The Blackberry mess and what Canada needs

Another year, another dead Canadian tech giant.  Blackberry was sold yesterday for scrap to the Toronto private equity firm Fairfax.  The purchase price of $4.7 billion is essentially valued at its cash of $2.6 billion and the value of its patents.  Blackberry’s active businesses are being valued at essentially nothing.  If Fairfax can stop the […]

Industrial Policy, Manufacturing Employment, and the Loonie

The Institute for Research on Public Policy has published a very interesting overview study on the resuscitation of “industrial policy” in economic policy circles.  It points out that industrial policy levers are used widely by countries around the world–despite hypothetical efforts (through trade deals and other institutions) to limit their application. 

Manufacturing Slump Threatens Q2 Growth

Statistics Canada reported today, “Manufacturing sales fell 2.4% in April to $48.2 billion — the fourth decline in five months and the largest monthly percentage drop since August 2009.” That gets the second quarter off to a bad start. Strong economic growth in the first quarter of this year (January, February, March) was underpinned by […]

Dutch Disease is Dead … Long Live Dutch Disease!!!

In the hyper-polarized context of Canadian energy policy debates, even suggesting that there might be a downside to the untrammeled energy boom centred in northern Alberta is enough to get you labelled a traitor or an economic illiterate — or both.  Conservative political leaders in both Ottawa and Edmonton, backed by energy-friendly think-tanks and the […]

The IMF and the Canadian Manufacturing Crisis

A background study for the latest IMF report on Canada (see pages 42 to 51) adds further weight to the argument that the rise in the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar, driven in large part by high commodity prices, has underpinned a sharp decline in the US market share of Canadian manufacturers since 2000 […]

Macdonald-Laurier Institute on Dutch Disease

Here is my Economy Lab piece on the study by Philip Cross released yesterday. On close examination, his “expanding sectors” turn out to be low value-added resource processing and his argument that Canadian manufacturing is not in decline does not hold water. The decline in output has been far greater than in the US and […]

Canada’s Economic Problem is NOT High Wages

Bill Curry reports in today’s Globe that, at last year’s economic policy retreat, business leaders urged Finance Minister Flaherty to reduce the pay of “overpriced” Canadian workers, including through anti union right to work legislation. Coincidentally, or not, the subsequent 2012 federal Budget introduced new rules which will require most EI claimants to accept jobs […]

Labour Minister Wrong on Manufacturing Jobs

Saskatchewan newspapers report: “Certainly in professional, scientific and technical areas and in the mining and the manufacturing sector (the job numbers) are very strong,” Don Morgan, minister of advanced education and labour relations, told reporters at news conference Friday. On Friday, Statistics Canada reported that Saskatchewan manufacturing employment dropped by 900 last month and declined […]

Labour Law and Jobs: A Tale of Two Provinces

Ontario Conservative Leader Tim Hudak claims that union busting right to work laws would create jobs in hard hit industrial Ontario. I have already noted that there is no evidence that Right to Work states in the US do better than other US states in terms of attracting and retaining manufacturing jobs. A glance closer […]

“Right to Work” Laws and Jobs

Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak claims that passage of an anti union “right to work” (RTW) law (making mandatory union dues illegal) would create jobs, especially in hard-hit manufacturing. With companies like Caterpillar moving to get ever cheaper labour, it seems semi plausible that anti union laws might attract footloose new investment , albeit at […]

Randy Hoback’s Pulp Fiction

Last week, Conservative MP Randy Hoback had another letter in The Prince Albert Daily Herald blaming the NDP for the pulp-mill closure in 2006. He still has not addressed my main point about resource royalties. I have the following response on page 4 of today’s Herald: Pulp mill saga proves Mulcair’s point Notwithstanding MP Randy […]

GDP: Petro-Rebound Conceals Underlying Problems

The main story in today’s GDP numbers is that the oil, gas and mining industries rebounded sharply in April after being hobbled by temporary maintenance and production difficulties in February and March. While the upswing in fossil-fuel and mineral extraction was large enough to boost the overall economy, other key sectors showed signs of weakness. […]

More on the OECD and Dutch Disease

Further to my earlier post on the OECD and “Dutch Disease”, I have received a heavily redacted response to an access to information request (A-2012-00073/CN.)  submitted to the Department of Finance, seeking any comments on the draft assessment and recommendations of the OECD delegation to Canada in 2012. This arrives just as Conservative ads attack […]

Agreeing with Hoback’s Headline

I have the following letter in today’s Prince Albert Daily Herald (page 4): Reinvest Resource Wealth in Saskatchewan To the editor: I strongly agree with the title of MP Randy Hoback’s letter: “Siphoning money out of the west is wrong” (June 9). My proposal is to keep more money in Saskatchewan by collecting more provincial […]

OECD Agrees We Suffer From Dutch Disease

OECD economist Peter Jarrett – lead on the just released Economic Survey of Canada – agrees with the Mulcair diagnosis.

Dutch Disease on the Rideau

The following is another guest post by Robyn Allan: A report recently released by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute claims Canada does not suffer from the Dutch disease. Unfortunately, the studies the authors draw on for this conclusion are riddled by it. The Dutch disease is a situation where rapid export of a nation’s raw resources along […]

Debating Hoback on Resource Royalties

Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback began last week’s inquisition by objecting to my recent op-ed in The Saskatoon StarPheonix on the “Dutch disease” debate between Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair. He then interrupted to question my NDP affiliation. As indicated in today’s Prince Albert Daily Herald (page A4), I would […]

IRPP: No Denial of Dutch Disease

Canadian Press writes, “Mr. Mulcair’s analysis of what ails Canada’s economy is contradicted by a new independent study produced by the Institute for Research on Public Policy.” Really? What does the study conclude? As quoted by Canadian Press, “On balance, the evidence indicates that Canada suffers from a mild case of the Dutch disease, which […]

Saskatchewan Manufacturing Hits the Wall

Premier Brad Wall was Tweeting about today’s Statistics Canada report of an uptick in national manufacturing sales in March. It is an odd report for him to trumpet, given that it found a decline in Saskatchewan’s manufacturing sales that month. Another recent Statistics Canada report, Friday’s Labour Force Survey, indicates that Saskatchewan lost 400 manufacturing […]

Postmedia’s Ham-Handed Assault on Mulcair

Postmedia has posted Michael Den Tandt’s latest column, which will presumably appear in print tomorrow. He presents recent comments about Dutch disease as a departure from Tom Mulcair’s previous position: . . . when Tom Mulcair was driving hard to become leader of the New Democrats, he took polite but pointed issue with his party’s […]

Going to the Wall in Defence of Mulcair

I have the following op-ed in today’s Saskatoon StarPhoenix: Royalty hike cure for Dutch disease Premier Brad Wall calls federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair “very, very divisive” for expressing concern that Canada’s overvalued petro-dollar is eliminating manufacturing jobs. In reality, Wall is being divisive by exploiting this legitimate concern to fan the flames of western […]

Canadian Mining and Manufacturing Stumble

Statistics Canada reported today that the economy shrank in February, driven by declines in resource extraction and manufacturing. Oil and gas extraction as well as hard-rock mining decreased due to temporary shutdowns. However, the most dramatic decline was in potash production, down 19% due to mine closures in Saskatchewan. The provincial government, which is budgeting […]

Canadian Deindustrialization

I thought I had been reading Jim’s posts carefully enough, but I was still kind of stunned when I did a quick stat check to respond  to a comment on my earlier post on globalization and unions. In 2000, manufacturing output (in constant 2002 dollar terms) amounted to $188.9 Billion. In 2010, manufacturing output amounted […]

The Loonie’s Stagnant Purchasing Power

The following note also appears on Business Insider. I owe Paul Tulloch a hat tip for reminding me of these issues in a good comment on my last post. When Ontario’s Premier recently complained that Canada’s petro-dollar undermines manufacturing exports, many economists tripped over each other to counter that a strong loonie benefits all Canadians […]

Santa Claus Delivers a Positive Quarter Despite Corporate Scrooges

The Month: Christmas Gift Canada’s economy was buoyed by Christmas cheer as a December bounce more than offset slight declines in October and November to turn the fourth quarter positive. Unfortunately, one month does not make a trend. The key question is whether December’s strength continued into the New Year or whether economic activity reverted […]

McGuinty’s Business Tax Breaks

An interesting nugget in last week’s Drummond report is Table 11.1, an updated version of Table 2 from “Ontario’s Tax Plan for Jobs and Growth” (2009). It provides a sectoral breakdown of the McGuinty government’s recent business tax breaks: HST input tax credits, cutting the corporate income tax, and eliminating the corporate capital tax. The […]

Is Labour Doomed?

Last week (Feb. 2nd) I drove up to London, Ontario, to shoot some film footage of the locked-out workers picketing outside the Electro-Motive Diesel plant for a documentary I am working on. The company, the only one to make locomotives in Canada, is owned by Caterpillar Inc., the world’s largest equipment manufacturer. They’d locked out […]

Keynesian Productivity

Statistics Canada released an interesting study today on the slowdown of productivity growth in Canadian manufacturing. Conservative economists tend to view productivity as a microeconomic issue, reflecting the allocation of scarce resources through the market. The way to maximize productivity is to remove taxes, regulations and other “barriers” to the market’s free functioning. However, the […]

Record-Low Manufacturing Employment

Today’s Labour Force Survey indicates that the seemingly robust economic growth reported by Statistics Canada earlier this week is not translating into improved job prospects for Canadian workers. For the second consecutive month, employment is down and unemployment is up. (By contrast, the situation improved south of the border.) Manufacturing: Another Record Low Although overall […]

Neo Liberal Globalization Kills Good Jobs

Well, you’ve heard that kind of line from labour and the left, but now the IMF seems to have been pretty much won over to the argument that global supply chains and technological change are killing more good jobs than they create. In a distinctly gloomy Box starting on p.41  in the latest World Economic […]