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Archive for 'StatCan'

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 […]

Flaherty’s Legacy: Ideological, reckless and just plain lucky

This piece was originally published at the Globe and Mail’s online Report on Business feature, EconomyLab.   There are two reasons why it is difficult to comment on the legacy of a finance minister. 1) It is a tremendously challenging job, anywhere, any time. Stewarding one of the largest economies in the world through a […]

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 […]

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 […]

Canada’s Luxury Index is through the roof

Numbers season is over but good inequality data is still missing. January sees us regularly bombarded with a whole range of economic statistics about the previous year. GDP growth: likely 1.7%, low but looking brighter for next year. Unemployment: 7.2%, low but lots of workers leaving the job market altogether as the employment rate stagnates. […]

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 […]

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, […]

StatCan Debunks Small-Business Mythology

Canadian economic commentators often worship small business as the supposed source of economic dynamism and growth. This cult of small business has greatly influenced public policy, with federal and provincial governments giving huge tax preferences to small corporations. But new Statistics Canada research finds: “The gap between the levels of labour productivity in Canada and […]

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 […]

Black Friday GDP: Consumption Slows, But Inventories Jump

Ironically, Statistics Canada’s third-quarter GDP report on Black Friday showed the growth rate of consumption being cut in half. Final consumption expenditure grew by 0.4% in the third quarter compared to 0.8% in the second quarter. Household spending growth fell to 0.6% from 0.9%. Government consumption growth plummeted to 0.1% from 0.4%. In other words, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Inflation Slump Validates Low Interest Rates

Today, Statistics Canada reported inflation of 1.1% for August, even lower than June and July. But even at this anemic level, inflation is eating up three-quarters of wage gains. The Labour Force Survey indicates that Canada’s average hourly wage rose by only 1.5% between August 2012 and August 2013. Subdued inflation and the weak job […]

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 […]

NHS fails low incomes–and Canadians

Unfortunately the following note to readers from today’s release of the third and final set of data from the National Household Survey by Statistics Canada speaks for itself: Note to readers Comparability of low-income estimates Low-income estimates from the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) compared with previous censuses show markedly different trends than those derived from other surveys […]

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 […]

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 […]

Inflation Eats Up Three-Quarters of Wage Gains

Today, Statistics Canada reported an annual inflation rate of 1.3% for July. By comparison, it reports that the average hourly wage rose by 1.8% between July 2012 and July 2013. In other words, even anemic inflation is eating up nearly three-quarters of wage increases. On average, Canadian workers have eked out only a 0.5% improvement […]

Austerity Bites? Public-Sector Implosion Hits Canada’s Job Market

Statistics Canada reported a loss of 39,000 jobs in July, even as Canada’s working-age population grew by 39,000. As a result, unemployment rose and many Canadians withdrew from the labour market altogether. The decline reflected a loss of 74,000 public-sector jobs, which was only partly offset by modest growth in private-sector employment and self-employment. There […]

Average Weekly Earnings: Wages vs. Hours & Salaries

Today, Statistics Canada reported a seemingly impressive monthly rise of 0.9% in average weekly earnings, from $906.24 in April to $914.68 in May. Digging a bit deeper reveals that average weekly earnings for workers paid by the hour – the majority of Canadian employees – edged up by only 0.2%, from $695.21 in April to […]

Inflation Eats Up More Than Half of Wage Gains

Today, Statistics Canada reported an inflation rate of 1.2% for June, validating the Bank of Canada’s recent decision to keep interest rates low for the foreseeable future. The rationale to raise interest rates would be to curb inflation, which is already under control and well below the central bank’s 2% target. But even at 1.2%, […]

EI Benefits Falling Faster Than Unemployment

Statistics Canada reported today that 12,290 fewer Canadians received Employment Insurance (EI) benefits in May compared to April. EI benefits are shrinking far faster than unemployment. In percentage terms, the number of EI recipients declined as much in just the last month as unemployment declined over the past year. Between April and May, the number […]

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 […]

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 […]

Statistics Canada Resuscitates Dead Money

Interestingly, the day after the new Bank of Canada Governor gave a speech distancing himself from his predecessor’s “dead money” comments, Statistics Canada released a significant downward revision to the usual measure of corporate cash accumulation. The cash holdings of private non-financial corporations reached $594 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, so I was […]

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 […]

GDP: Resource Exports Cover for Domestic Weakness

Statistics Canada reported today that GDP grew by 0.6% in the first quarter. The volume of energy and mining exports expanded by more than 5%, offsetting lower exports of many manufactured goods as well as a weak domestic economy. Consumer spending growth slowed to 0.2% in the first quarter of 2013, its lowest rate of […]