Are the July Education Job Losses Over-Stated?

They are according to  a couple of  bank economists cited in a prominent story today’s Globe who think the big loss of education jobs in July (down 60,000) is due to a failure by Stats Can to properly calibrate seasonal adjustment  to take account of  supposed recent changes in employment patterns.  They think many education workers are now laid off in the Summer but get re-hired in the Fall.

There may be something in this. However, the figures in the Globe story do show the July education job losses to be much bigger – to the tune of 40,000 – than last year . Also, I checked the numbers for September 2009 and September 2008 and found no huge jump in education employment from August to September in either of those years (up 8,000 in 2008 and up 18,000 in 2009.)  A repetition of that level of re-hiring come September would still leave the minus 60,000 hit  in July as a big net loss.

My guess – to be rechecked in the Fall – is that there have been a lot of permanent layoffs in the post secondary sector.


  • Replacement contracts are being given for Sept. to June. I would not be surprised if some people were then re-hired. However they are still unemployed in July and August. Uottawa used to have its full-time staff on Sept. to May contracts in the days before it became a public institution with a faculty association. Some of the labor practices with respect to part-time faculty (who are really full-time) still leave the incumbents unemployed for two months or longer each six months or one year.

  • One could actually go and compare the trends and see what is happening. I do not understand why this was not done, instead the numbers are now being questions by everybody and their neighbour. It is not a good time for such, season adjustment issues.

    the question is, if it is a new practice by school boards, then the seasonal will not pick it up and add it in to the real gains.

    So for those not inclined, every year we get layoffs and such of educators, so either a whole pile more have either been laid off in an unconventional means, or somehow the number is in error, i.e. human error.

    So the question is from Statscan point of view, are they sure it is not human error and if not they should have had some kind of follow up on explaining the bump and putting out some verbatim. It should not just be put out into the public space that it is just statistical error, that is just plain bad business practices for so many.

    Again we go back to sample size and errors. If we want less error, increase sample size, and ensure the LFS infrastructure is as sturdy as possible, i.e. such things as the Census that benchmarks it, is reliable. This my friends and neighbours is just a sign of things to come when we get start letting the survey vehicles whither away in the space of voluntary response.

    Sadly, the LFS sample size has been cut and cut and cut and now the census benchmark will be a bastardized version of itself. It is a reality that unless we start engaging those bound on destroying information collection, are not reigned in.

    Sad to see such controversy but more of this is to come, and many times we will just do what we did this month, shrug out shoulders and go with no guidance and hope next month makes sense. This is such a wrong turn and truly an unmeasurable cost to society.

    Especially during such economically important epochs, more mistakes are not what we can afford. At least for those that work for a living.

    paul t


  • The real story is the ongoing casualization of education. Once good, secure jobs are now being transformed into part-time and contract positions with lower wages and fewer, if any, benefits. Job security is being eroded in education. If staff offend powerful interests their contracts are simply not renewed. In turn, academic freedom is jeopardized.

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