Where the jobs at?

Mark it in your calendars folks, today, March 25, 2014 is the day that the Canadian labour shortage**  myth officially died. (It may, of course, be resurrected as a zombie). Responding to a Parliamentary Budget Office report that refutes the existence of a labour shortage or skills mismatch in Canada, Jason Kenney claims the government never suggested any such thing. […]

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Millennials, School, and Work

Given that the 2014 Federal Budget talked a lot about youth unemployment, but didn’t actually do very much, I thought it would be worth going over a few trends for the 20-29 age group. Young workers are usually hit harder by recessions, and this most recent recession was no different. You can see significant spikes in unemployment rates during recessions […]

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How to calculate un(der)employment

For my day job, I wrote a thing about underemployment in Canada. I thought that it might be useful to post my method here so that other interested parties could calculate it for themselves. The headline unemployment rate counts all those who are unemployed, available to start work, and actively looking for a job. The internationally accepted measure of the […]

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Chipping Away at Access to E.I.

There were two announcements this week around E.I. – both framed as “being more responsive to local labour market conditions”. What that really means is that in the three territories and Prince Edward Island, access to E.I. will become more difficult in urban areas. Employment Insurance is divided into 58 separate economic regions, and access to benefits, as well as […]

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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, 10,500 new jobseekers entered the […]

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Fewer Jobs Without People In 2013

The most recent Jobs Vacancy statistics are out, and the trend for 2013 so far has been a reduction in the number of job vacancies reported by businesses compared to 2012. The number of job vacancies reported by businesses fell by 41,000 between September 2012 and September 2013, so that even though there were fewer unemployed workers in September 2013, there […]

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Raise Wages, Train Workers

I have been hard on our new Employment and Social Development Minister, Jason Kenney, for buying into a widespread myth about labour shortages and skill mismatches in Canada. So, to give credit where credit is due, it appears Minister Kenney has been listening to the growing chorus of voices disputing the existence of a labour shortage in Canada. Surprisingly (or not), […]

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More on alternate measures of unemployment

I’ve mentioned differences between Statistics Canada’s R8 measure and the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics’ U6 measure before, but I think it’s worth covering again. R8 is Canada’s broadest measure of unemployment, and includes discouraged workers, workers waiting for a job to begin, and a portion of involuntary part-time. The most recent value for R8 was 10.3% in August, down […]

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Unemployment is higher than you think.

Every month, Statistics Canada comes out with the unemployment rate, and every month it gets a lot of attention. But the unemployment rate provides quite limited information about the actual health of the labour market. The addition of two other pieces of information nearly doubles the unemployment rate: the proportion of the labour market employed part-time but looking for more […]

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About those jobs without people, Minister Kenney

Upon being appointed Minister of the newly renamed “Employment and Social Development” (formerly HRSDC), Mr. Kenney tweeted his view on the Canadian labour market: “I will work hard to end the paradox of too many people without jobs in an economy that has too many jobs without people. #shuffle13“ Coincidentally, perhaps, the most recent Statistics Canada numbers on job vacancies […]

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Data, data, everywhere: but

So, the National Household Survey’s Portrait of Canada’s labour force is out, and I can’t help but think of Donald Rumsfeld’s known unknowns. We know that we don’t know anything about those who didn’t respond to the survey, or how they might be different from those that did. We also know that there are some discrepancies in terms of labour […]

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April EI Numbers Bleak

So Erin talked about falling EI benefits last month, which got me thinking about the longer term trend here. Comparing seasonally unadjusted data for the last five Aprils, we see a steady decline in the proportion of unemployed workers that are receiving EI.  Since April 2009, unemployment in Canada has fallen by nearly 150,000, which is about a 10% decline […]

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Business journalists go on the attack; demonize Atlantic seasonal workers

The following is a guest post by Nick Fillmore. National business journalists and columnists have bought into Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s demeaning view that folks in the Atlantic region are backward and have a defeatist attitude. Framed in contemptuous language, they’re promoting untested economic ideas that, if adopted, would seriously damage the economy – and the people – of the […]

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Crowley’s Red Hot Labour Market

Brian Lee Crowley’s latest column shows he’s a glass-half-full kinda guy. We shouldn’t be worried about unemployment because a) it’s old-fashioned, b) Boomers had it worse (and now they’re getting old) c) we’re doing better than the U.S., and d) it’s really only young people and immigrants that are unemployed. This is a relief. So I shouldn’t worry that Statistics Canada […]

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EI and CPP Appeals consolidation begins

Regulations guiding the new Social Security Tribunal came into force April 1st, 2013, and are available online at the Canada Gazette.  The SST combines the first and second level of client appeals for CPP, OAS, and EI into one tribunal. HRSDC expects that the changes will result in $25 million in annual savings, due to centralized administration and the magic […]

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Back to Balance in Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia provincial government is set to introduce its promised balanced budget this year. The Nova Scotia Alternative Budget, released today, proposes some concrete choices rooted in Nova Scotia communities. Rather than pay down debt, the NS-APB prioritizes balancing the social debt threatening Nova Scotia. Can a budget really be considered balanced when unemployment is 9.3%, and 47,000 Nova […]

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EI: It’s all in the details

What not to say in an interview if you’re on EI, and other nightmares The latest detail to emerge about the recent changes to EI is from the Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles.  The Digest is a guide to enforcing Employment Insurance, with definitions of key terms, and elaborates on expectations of EI claimants and penalties for errors. In Chapter […]

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Job Market Worsens in January

After five months of  job gains, the job market turned dismal in January. Officially, the unemployment rate fell from 7.1% to 7.0%, the lowest it’s been since December 2008. This is despite a loss of 45,800 jobs (not counting self-employment). The explanation is an out flux of discouraged workers from the labour market, which caused the ‘real’ unemployment rate (R8) to jump […]

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Labour Market still weak: Bank of Canada

The Bank of Canada released their January 2013 Monetary Policy Report.  Of note, the Bank downgraded its growth expectation for 2013 to 2.0% from 2.3%, and expects the Canadian economy will not reach full potential until late 2014. Several key points in the January MPR reinforce what progressive economists have been saying about the Canadian labour market. Since 2010, more […]

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Pushback on EI Changes

It has been a week and a half since changes to the definition of suitable employment and reasonable job search have come into effect.  Already, a single mom in Prince Edward Island, Marlene Giersdorf,  has become a symbol of the hardship these changes are likely to have on many Canadians in the coming months. When she refused to expand her job […]

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Re-defining (Un)Employment Insurance

Several key changes to Employment Insurance came into effect on Sunday.  The EI program is about to get Grinch-ier, especially for who happen to have needed it more than once. What Changed Some of the changes made are reasonable, some are technical, and some are misguided.  Together, these changes go some way toward redefining what employment insurance is all about, […]

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Gender Wage Gap hurts Economic Growth

BREAKING NEWS: Women are paid less than men across OECD (read: rich) countries. OK, it’s not breaking news.  Not even close.  In Canada the ‘Female to Male earnings ratio’ has hovered around the 70% mark for the past 20 years.  And for women with university degrees, the ratio peaked in the early 1990’s, and has been below 70% for 13 […]

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The Harper Government’s New Math

Every time this government crows about its job creation record, I cringe.  They have moved the finish line and declared victory.  No reason to worry about the unemployed here, folks.  Let’s move on to more public service cuts, and/or tax cuts. Never mind that unemployment has been in and around 7.4% since the spring of 2011, nowhere near the 6% […]

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Stay the course

The Fall Economic Update was hosted this week by the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce. It seems Minister Flaherty wanted to be sure of friendly faces when he announced that the 2012-2013 budget deficit will likely be $5-$7 billion higher than forecast in March. The reason for the higher deficit is that nominal GDP will be lower than expected, which in […]

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