CIBC on Employment Quality
Benjamin Tal of CIBC produces a quarterly Canadian Employment Quality Index. The releases from today (July 11) and February 11 provide amazingly different spins on amazingly similar figures. The basic facts are virtually unchanged:
-Â Most new employment has been self-employment as opposed to jobs paid by an employer.
– Most new employment has been full-time as opposed to part-time.
– Low-paying industries have grown faster than high-paying industries.
– In Alberta, job quality is slightly better now than in the mid-1990s.
– In Saskatchewan/Manitoba, job quality is about the same now as in the mid-1990s.
– Everywhere else, job quality is worse now than in the mid-1990s.
The February 11 release took the long view, noting that “Our index of employment quality is now at its lowest level since the early 1990s.” Although this conclusion remains accurate, todayâ€™s release is entitled “The Best of Both Worlds” and focuses almost exclusively on a slight, recent up-tick in the index.
While it makes sense to highlight recent developments, one wonders whether Talâ€™s completely new tone reflects a change in CIBCâ€™s editorial policy. His February 11 release explicitly endorsed the view that lost manufacturing jobsÂ are undermining overall employment quality. Todayâ€™s release is more consistent with the June 15 commentary by Jeff Rubin, CIBCâ€™s Chief Economist, who argued that new jobs in construction and resource extraction have sustained overall employment quality despite the manufacturing crisis.
UPDATE (July 12): A handful of newspapers covered this employment-quality debate today.