Labour Market Stalls

Canada’s job market stalled in May. Employment edged up by 7,700, almost all of it part-time. In fact, the number of employees paid by Canadian employers fell by 15,600. Total “employment” rose only because 23,300 more Canadians reported themselves as self-employed. Over the past year, employment has grown slightly less than the labour force, leaving 1.4 million Canadians officially unemployed. […]

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Inflation Central

Statistics Canada reported today that consumer prices edged up by 0.1% in February on a seasonally-adjusted basis, bringing the annual inflation rate to 2.6% and the core inflation rate to 2.3%. These rates are within the Bank of Canada’s target range and should allow it to keep interest rates low, which would be appropriate given Canada’s stalled labour market. The […]

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Labour Force Exodus

Statistics Canada reported this morning that 38,000 people gave up looking for work in February. The official unemployment rate fell because these Canadians were no longer counted as being unemployed. However, this huge withdrawal from the labour force is a sign of weakness in the job market. Nationally, 25,000 of the 38,000 who dropped out were younger than 25. The […]

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Inflation and Drummond

Statistics Canada reported today that consumer prices jumped in January (by 0.4% or 0.5% seasonally-adjusted), offsetting the drop in December. As a result, the annual inflation rate is now 2.5% and the Bank of Canada’s core inflation rate is 2.1%. Monetary Policy Both measures are well within the central bank’s target range, which should allow it to keep interest rates […]

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Budget Cuts Could Worsen Rising Unemployment

It was not a happy new year for Canadian job seekers. Statistics Canada reported today that unemployment rose for a fourth consecutive month in January. Overall employment remained flat as Canada’s population and labour force grew at a normal pace, leaving more workers without jobs. The good news in today’s report is that 39,200 more Canadians reported being paid by […]

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Economic Climate and Inequality

The December issue of the quarterly Economic Climate for Bargaining publication I produce is now on-line.  This issue has a number of pieces on issues of inequality, including: Rising inequality is hurting our economy Labour rights, unions and the 99% Canadian economy bleeding jobs; public sector cuts to intensify Recession and cuts hit Aboriginal and racialized workers hardest It also […]

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Towards a Wage-Led Recovery

A new issue of the International Journal of Labour Research has been published “While a lot of attention has been deservedly given to the financial roots of the current economic crisis, the role of wages as a cause to the crisis as well as a solution to the current economic predicament have yet to be fully understood. To help fill […]

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Danger: Wage Deflation Ahead

The labour market is in much worse shape than the official 7.3% unemployment rate implies.  The latest evidence for this proposition is today’s miserable report on employment and earnings from Statistics Canada. Further to Andrew Jackson’s post on today’s release, most media coverage of this report focuses on year-over-year measures of growth in hourly wages and weekly wages.  And on […]

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Update on Falling Real Wages

I’ve blogged on this before, and continue to be surprised by the lack of attention paid to the significant ongoing decline of real wages. Falling wages are a key indicator of a very soft job market, and have the potential to undermine still quite strong household spending. Today’s Statscan release of the payroll data show that Average Weekly Earnings including […]

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Why occupy? It’s the inequality.

The Occupy Wall Street protests hinge on injustice, in particular a malaise with the current economic system that has brought us a tremendous inequality and the rise of the super-rich, or top 1%. But surely that is just the US? Alas, no. The figure below shows the change in BC labour income (wages and salaries) and corporate profits (before tax) going […]

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Who’s over or under-paid?

We all know that the wages and compensation individuals receive in private competitive markets reflects their productivity, unless pesky unions and government regulations get in the way–because Economics 101 (and Michael Hlinka) have told us so.   Corporate CEOs are worth every penny their “independent compensation committees” award in compensation and stock options them because they are “creating value” and hedge fund operators are […]

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Wage Deflation Confirmed

In an earlier post, I noted that falling real wages as indicated by July and August data from the Labour Force Survey which showed increases of just 1.4% in nominal hourly wages over the past year  signalled trouble ahead: “If this trend continues, it is likely to further undermine a weak recovery, negatively impacting upon consumer spending and perhaps serving […]

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Why even conservatives are worried about rising inequality

This essay was commissioned by the National Post.  It was published in today’s edition under the headline “A Problem for Everyone“.  In the print edition, the overline -  a large font summary of what you are about to read  written by the editors –  reads:  “Income inequality isn’t just unfair — it threatens the whole foundation on which our capitalist […]

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Incomes and the Recession

Today’s Statscan release “Incomes of Canadians” provides data for 2009 and a partial reading on the impacts of the recession. (I say partial because the 2008 annual average data were impacted by the onset of the recession in the last quarter of the year, and since these impacts continued well into 2010.) The data give some sense of the devastating […]

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The Case Against Wage Insurance

 At the CEA meetings I participated on a panel organized by IRPP to discuss a recent paper  – by Finnie and Gray – on older laid-off workers and the policy option of “wage insurance.”  The paper shows that older laid off workers leaving stable jobs and finding new employment typically experience significant declines in earnings – in the range of […]

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Is Canada’s Economy Wage-Led?

The parenthetical reference to Canada in my last post prompted several good comments. This post attempts to summarize and address them. Dr. Stockhammer has co-authored a paper with estimates for Canada, but he would be the first to note that they are mechanical and not necessarily relevant to policy. He finds that Canada’s domestic economy is wage-led, with a higher […]

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Do Wages or Profits Lead Growth?

Earlier this month, I served as the discussant for a presentation by Engelbert Stockhammer, an economics professor from Kingston University in London. He was speaking at a conference organized by the workers’ representation to the International Labour Organization (ACTRAV). Stockhammer reviewed two antithetical strategies for economic growth. The pro-labour strategy aims to increase wages by promoting collective bargaining, raising minimum […]

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Canadians working too much?

Despite all the political scandals, very distinct political visions for this country, and recent attempts by political leaders to get Canadians to “rise up”, there doesn’t seem to be a ton of public enthusiasm in this federal election campaign yet. One problem may be that Canadians are simply working too much. Recently released figures from OECD show that Canadians aren’t just […]

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Reforming Ontario’s Universities

I have just finished reading a 2009 book entitled Academic Transformation:  The Forces Reshaping Higher Education in Ontario.  The book, written by Ian Clark, Greg Moran, Michael Skolnik and David Trick, has received a fair bit of attention among post-secondary (PSE) wonks.  While I find it informative, I am uncomfortable with the book’s central feature:  a proposal to reform Ontario’s PSE sector with the […]

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The Rise of the Global Elite

“The already wealthy have emerged from the global recession in an even wealthier position. What does the rise of global elites mean to power and influence at home and abroad?” That’s the blurb from TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin, the latest Canadian news show to tackle the issue that explains so much of what is going on: rising inequality. […]

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