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Archive for 'media'

StatCan Reports Fewest Vacant Jobs on Record

Statistics Canada reported today that there were only 199,700 vacant jobs in December 2013, the fewest recorded since it first reported these figures for March 2011. Statistics Canada began tracking job vacancies in response to claims of a labour shortage by governments and corporate Canada. But the number of vacancies falling below 200,000 casts further […]

Did the US Take a Bite Out of Canada-Korea Trade?

On last night’s The National, Terry Milewski introduced the Canada-Korea trade deal as follows: The truth is that Canada is a latecomer to free trade with South Korea. The European Union and the United States both got there first, and their free trade deals took a big bite out of Canada’s exports. So, the government […]

Economists Against Austerity

UPDATE (Feb. 12): Carol Goar reports this statement on page A17 of today’s Toronto Star. To add your signature to it, please e-mail your name, title and institution to Mario Seccareccia at mseccare@uottawa.ca Statement by 70 Canadian Economists Against Austerity We, the undersigned, strongly urge the federal government to stop implementing fiscal austerity measures just to […]

Canada’s Job Market: Slower, Lower, Weaker

The following commentary on yesterday’s job numbers is quoted in today’s National Post (page FP4): The Olympic motto may be “Faster, Higher, Stronger,” but Canada’s employment growth is slower, lower and weaker going into the winter games. Of the 29,000 Canadians who supposedly gained employment in January, 28,000 reported being self-employed. Only 1,000 found jobs […]

PotashCorp Projects Low Royalties

Today’s fourth-quarter report indicates that PotashCorp paid “provincial mining and other taxes” of $194 million on potash sales of $3 billion in 2013. In other words, Saskatchewan’s resource surcharge and potash production tax amounted to just 6.5% of the value of potash sold. Adding the basic Crown royalty (which PotashCorp includes in “cost of goods […]

Dutch Disease, Prices and Wages in Saskatchewan

Jim Stanford recently pointed out that many of the conservative economists who had defended the overvalued loonie have quickly shifted to applauding its depreciation. The Government of Saskatchewan may be making a similar conversion on the road to Damascus. When federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair expressed concern about Dutch disease, premier Brad Wall denied that […]

Canada-Europe Deal Not About Trade

I have the following letter to the editor in today’s Prince Albert Daily Herald: Canada-Europe Deal Not About Trade In their letter of Dec. 3, Darryl Hickie and other Sask. Party MLAs back away from his previous claim that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union (EU) would be […]

Weir vs. Wall on Potash Profits, Dividends and Royalties

Earlier this week, PotashCorp laid off 440 workers in Saskatchewan. Here are the closing paragraphs from today’s front-page story reporting a letter from Premier Brad Wall asking the company to consider reducing its dividend payments to shareholders in order to maintain jobs in Saskatchewan: Regina economist and former NDP leadership candidate Erin Weir said if […]

A Part-Time, Do-It-Yourself Job Market

Statistics Canada reported that employment grew by 22,000 in November. But 20,000 of those new jobs were part-time. The proportion of all Canadian jobs that are part-time rose to an even 19%. Broken down another way, 19,000 of the employment increase were people reporting themselves as self-employed. Canadian employers actually hired fewer than 3,000 additional […]

A Nuclear Error: Uranium Royalty Cuts

On Thursday’s Lang & O’Leary Exchange (at 24:45 in this CBC video), I noted that while the Government of Canada just signed a deal with Kazakhstan allowing Cameco to invest more in that country’s uranium industry, the Government of Saskatchewan recently slashed its uranium royalties to encourage Cameco to invest in the province rather than […]

Job Market Stuck in a Rut

The words “little change” appear eight times in today’s Statistics Canada press release on the Labour Force Survey. The figures for October are indeed remarkably similar to September. This lack of change might be viewed as welcome stability in better economic times, but it has to be regarded as stagnation given the actual state of […]

Fossil-Fueled GDP Growth

Yesterday, Statistics Canada reported that the Canadian economy had a month of fossil-fueled growth in August. Overall GDP was up by 0.3%, only half as much as in July but still a respectable monthly growth rate. By far the strongest growth of any industry was a 1.9% increase in “Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas […]

Wordsmithing 80,000 Jobs

Last week’s federal throne speech stated, “The Government will soon complete negotiations on a comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the European Union [CETA]. This agreement has the potential to create 80,000 new Canadian jobs.” There has since been a subtle but important shift in the government’s wording around that figure, as I point out […]

Canada’s Trade Deficit with the EU Doubles

On last night’s Lang & O’Leary Exchange, I debunked the claim that the trade deal between Canada and the European Union (EU) will create 80,000 Canadian jobs. The conservative panelists did not even try to defend this figure (see this CBC video, starting at 15:45). As Jim Stanford has previously explained on this blog, the […]

When a Lower Unemployment Rate is Bad News

Today, Statistics Canada reported an unemployment rate of 6.9% for September. One might have expected Canada’s unemployment rate falling below 7% for the first time since 2008 to be cause for celebration. But as Statistics Canada noted, the decline in official unemployment reflected youth dropping out of the job market rather than any notable increase […]

Royalties should be the Keystone of Saskatchewan’s Petroleum Policy

The Saskatchewan Party has appropriated the province’s name, flag and football team. More recently, it asserted a new symbol of Saskatchewan patriotism: the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Earlier this year, provincial energy and resources minister Tim McMillan had the following letter in Regina’s Leader-Post: Province Needs XL (January 28, 2013) I write in regard to […]

Sask. Party Spin Outstrips Population Growth

Sask. Party spin appears to be growing even faster than the province’s population. Today’s Saskatchewan government news release quotes Premier Wall as saying, “We have the strongest job growth and lowest unemployment in Canada.” By what measure does Saskatchewan have the strongest job growth? Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey indicates that employment grew by 2.9 per […]

Regina’s P3 Columnists

As the referendum on whether to privatize Regina’s wastewater plant nears, the Regina Leader-Post is printing a column a day advocating the P3: John Gormley on Friday, Bruce Johnstone on Saturday, and Murray Mandryk today. Johnstone and Mandryk repeat three of the City’s key claims. Gormley only gets to one of these claims because he […]

Black Day for EI in July

Today, Statistics Canada reported a large monthly drop of 10,900 for July in the number of Canadians receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. Its press release noted, “This decline brings the number of beneficiaries to a level similar to that observed before the start of the labour-market downturn in 2008.” But the number of unemployed […]

EI Premium Freeze Leaves Unemployed Canadians in the Cold

Today, finance minister Jim Flaherty announced a three-year freeze on Employment Insurance (EI) premiums, ostensibly because a stronger job market has alleviated the need for additional premium revenue. Under the current policy, employee premiums were rising each year by 5 cents per $100 earned. Flaherty had announced this policy on September 30, 2010, when 1.5 […]

Part-Time Growth in a “Hamster Wheel” Job Market

Today, Statistics Canada reported that employment increased in August, although two-thirds of the additional jobs were part-time positions. The part-time rate rose to 19%, its highest level in more than a year. Job growth has also been “part-time” in the sense that only a few months this year have seen meaningful employment gains. Over the […]

EI, Self-Insurance or Three-Card Monte?

Monte Solberg, the former Conservative cabinet minister responsible for Employment Insurance, proposed to eliminate the program in a recent Sun Media column: An alternative would be to self-insure. Employee and employer premiums would accumulate in an account in each worker’s name. Including interest, anyone who managed to stay employed through their lifetime earning even a […]

GDP: Consumers to the Rescue

Following positive GDP numbers in April and May, Statistics Canada reported today that a sharp drop in June dragged Canada’s economic growth to a mediocre pace of 0.4% for the second quarter. June’s declines in manufacturing and resource extraction did further damage to industries that had declined in April and May. Construction also declined in […]

P3 or No Federal Funding: A Third Option for Regina Wastewater?

The Queen City’s water debate has boiled over since I last blogged about it. City Council decided to build a new wastewater-treatment facility as a public-private partnership (P3), but a group of concerned citizens gathered 24,000 signatures to force a referendum on whether to “publicly finance, operate and maintain the new wastewater treatment plant for […]

Chrystia Freeland’s Liberal Use of Economic Platitudes

Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein has interviewed the presumptive Liberal candidate in Toronto Centre, Chrystia Freeland, who declares, “I’m a capitalist red in tooth and claw.” To his credit, Klein asks her a couple of times for policy specifics. She concludes the interview by saying: My job right now is to win the right to […]

Is Chrystia Freeland Progressive?

Chrystia Freeland, The Globe and Mail’s candidate in Toronto Centre, recently wrote a book about inequality (which I have not yet read) and is supposed to “bring fresh thinking to the Liberal Party’s economic team.” She has already attracted a few jabs from right-wingers Terence Corcoran and William Watson. But is she progressive? The Globe […]

No News is Bad News for Canada’s Job Market

Today’s job numbers are remarkably similar to last month’s figures. Total employment as well as employment in most sectors and industries was virtually unchanged. Stagnation is bad news given our growing population and that 1.4 million Canadians remain unemployed. There were also some notable shifts beneath the headline numbers. Total employment stayed the same because […]

Sask Party Employment Math: From the Great Wall to the Berlin Wall

Last week, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released my policy brief on Saskatchewan job-creation. Using Statistics Canada figures, it demonstrated that “workforce growth has been almost identical during the premierships of Brad Wall and Lorne Calvert.” Unsurprisingly, the main explanatory variable for Saskatchewan employment appears to be commodity prices rather than the party in […]

Rebutting Raganomics

Today, I had the following commentary posted on The Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab: The loonie is overvalued and the Bank of Canada has room to act On Tuesday, Christopher Ragan characterized the notion of an overvalued Canadian dollar as a “seductive myth” that the Bank of Canada should not act to address. I have […]

The Great Wall Ties Chairman Calvert’s Five-Year Plan

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has released my policy brief (PDF) on Saskatchewan employment growth. It generated front-page coverage in today’s Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Regina Leader-Post business sections as well as this snazzy online infographic. The press release follows: Premier Wall’s Employment Record Lags Calvert and Blakeney Regina – A new policy brief from […]