Recession Watch

Today, by way of background to tomorrow’s labour force release, , the Canadian Labour Congress released the fifth issue of our Recession Watch bulletin (prepared by my colleague Sylvain Schetagne.)

It highlights just how much slack there still was in the job market in February, 2010 compared to before the recession. Despite the rise in jobs since the bottom was reached in the Summer of 2009. the national unemployment rate was still 7.8%, and 14.3% for youth. On top of those who are unemployed, there has been a big jump in the number of people working part-time only because they cannot find full-time jobs. Last month, due to the disproportionate rise of temporary and part-time work in the recovery, just 73.3% of all employees had permanent full-time jobs, down from 75.1% before the recession.

Strikingly, three in four (74%) of the jobs created in the recovery since July, 2009 have been in just three industries – construction, professional services, and health care and social assistance. The first two were supported by the now expired infrastructure investment program as well as very low mortgage interest rates. Health and social services are funded by governments.

It is very much open to question if construction and broader public services employment will continue to grow as the federal and many provincial governments shift their focus from stimulus towards fiscal restraint. The very high dollar remains a huge drag on exports, and corporations are sitting on liquid assets rather than significantly ramping up real investment.

3 comments

  • I’m looking forward to finding out how you rate the Green Party’s economic platform and whether the numbers add up. It’s only come out today so I have no expectation of seeing a detailed analysis the minute it’s released but I do hope you or your contributors get to take an objective look at it.

    Thanks for the good work and regards,

    Michel Vanderby

  • I found this report very informative. It would be an eye-opener for journalists covering the election. I hope the CLC public relations dept. is doing a good executive summary or highlights style press release.
    Getting people to understand that employment prospects are dimming in Canada would hurt the complacency about the economic outlook the Conservatives require in order to stay in power. Unfortunately the political reporters are not up to speed on economic developments. How could it be otherwise since they only know what they read in their own papers.

  • Great work Sylvain and Andrew.

    It was a great overview, however lately I am feeling extremely nervous about the following as a whole new set of hurdles for the Canadian economy:

    1) oil is going through the roof- energy costs will and is starting to send another economic shock wave through all industries outside of the west’s oil industry.

    2) the dollar is going through the roof- we are now approaching 1.05 and there is nothing on the horizon to slow this rise. This will be a death blow to the 1.7 million workers in manufacturing, mainly located in Ontario and Quebec- which will further hobble the two biggest economies in Canada.

    3) the rise in oil prices have been sparking inflationary concerns which as noted in several countries has led to interest rate increases- result- slower growth and employment losses

    4) the earthquake in Japan in the short to medium term will send a rather large shock throughout the global system.

    5) china starting to pull hard on the levers to cool its economy.

    6) further EU instability and austerity waves hitting hard across the EU

    7) the US government is about to embark on an austerity based budget. (if they don’t close down forever that is!?) That could put a bit of a drag on the US economy, along with talk of qe2 winding down early.

    8) once this election is over, it seems the stimulus money will be wound down which could unleash another drag on the economy.

    On the up side–????? Okay so I am a bit of a pessimist

    we have fighter jets- ahh, some new prisons,

    and of course BIG OIL.

    MAybe we might have to start hiving off more of those oil royalties to the fed level. At least we have started to shut down the oil subsidies, so that is a start. Of course the budget was not passed so big oil will still collect a few more subsidy cheques. Wow if Canadians only knew how badly we get ripped off by our own oil industries.

    I think a special tax targeting those oil companies similar to what the UK is considering for its north sea oil.

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