Laboured Data – Reading the Recession Right

I purchase a monthly unadjusted Labour Force Survey data series from StatsCan that provides monthly labour force trends by age, sex, province, and type of job (full-time, part-time, by industry, and by status – self-employed or employed). This is a helpful addition to the published monthly stats in The Daily, which use seasonally adjusted numbers from the Labour Force Survey. […]

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Canada’s Lost Year

UPDATE (November 7): Quoted by The Toronto Star and Canadian Press Today’s release of negative job numbers for October undoes much of the surprisingly strong reported improvement in September. The national unemployment rate is again closer to 9% than to 8%. Canada-US Comparison The US unemployment rate cracking 10% will undoubtedly garner much Canadian attention. While the absolute level of […]

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L-Shaped Recovery?

Flat Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures for July provide a sobering reminder that the technical end of a recession may not imply a rapid recovery. Output appears to have stopped shrinking, but this morning’s release suggests stabilization rather than growth. Rounding to the nearest billion, all-industry GDP has been $1,184 billion for three months. It had peaked at $1,241 billion […]

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EI Woes

The latest changes to EI to be introduced by the Conservatives do almost nothing for the shock troops of the labour market, those who were first felled when the recession hit last year. Bill C-50 will pass – whether or not it is fast-tracked today or “well-considered” in committee depends on how the procedural tactics imbedded in the bill are […]

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The Canadian Jobs Crisis

The OECD released an interesting short report today on how Canada compares to other countries in terms of the job impacts of the crisis. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/62/10/43707194.pdf They project that our unemployment rate will increase by more than in any previous recession to about 10% in 2010 and will likely take a long time to fall. They note a strong link between […]

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Public-Sector Recession?

Layoffs Continue Today’s Labour Force Survey indicates that full-time employment declined by 4,000 in August. There were 7,000 fewer jobs in goods-producing industries. Retailers Hire A surprising 21,000 new jobs in retail and wholesale trade propelled economy-wide employment up by 27,000. This increase consisted entirely of part-time jobs. While any employment gain is welcome news, the quality of these new […]

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EI: A Tale of Two Provinces

UPDATE (August 26): Quoted by Canadian Press, Canwest, The Toronto Star and Hamilton Spectator It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… It would be welcome news if the number of Canadians receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits increased because of a proactive policy decision to expand this program to combat the recession. In fact, the ongoing rise […]

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Hidden Unemployment

Today’s Labour Force Survey indicates that employers paid 79,000 fewer Canadians in July. However, a surge of workers declaring self-employment or abandoning the workforce altogether left 9,000 fewer Canadians officially unemployed. Self-Employment Many Canadians are turning to self-employment due to a lack of jobs. Self-employment rose by 35,000 in July, reaching another all-time high. As a result, the net decrease […]

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Unionization and Unemployment: My Canadian Ears Are Burning

Three months ago, Anne Layne-Farrar intervened in the US debate about the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) with a widely-reported paper and Senate testimony. She used Canadian data to argue that the proposed legislation would eliminate 600,000 American jobs. As many critics have noted, Layne-Farrar works for a corporate consultancy and business funded this piece of research. Readers can take […]

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Ontario Unemployment Hits All-Time High

According to today’s Labour Force Survey, the national unemployment increase (83,800) was twice the employment decrease (41,800) in May. The explanation is that the labour force expanded by 42,000 as Canada’s population continued to grow. While some people are entering the labour market and getting jobs, many more are being laid off. As a result, total unemployment blew past the […]

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Rising Unemployment Means More EI Exhaustees

There was a problem before the recession in terms of EI claimants exhausting their benefits before finding a new job, and it will soon get much worse. In 2006-07, before the recession, the national unemployment rate averaged just over 6%. Nonetheless, there were over 1.3 million new regular EI claims filed over the year, reflecting the fact that many Canadian […]

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Worsening Unemployment Calls for Better Employment Insurance

Here is my take on today’s Labour Force Survey: National Unemployment Much attention will undoubtedly focus on the unemployment rate hitting 8% in March, which Statistics Canada notes is “the highest rate in seven years.” While technically correct, this presentation understates the situation’s severity. The unemployment rate briefly reached 8% seven years ago, in December 2001 and January 2002. However, […]

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Blogging the West

No, the West is not Alberta as everyone in Ontario seems to think (I’m from Toronto so I can say that). I mean BC, where an election is on in two months. You would not really know it walking around Vancouver, probably because the writ has not yet dropped, so we are in the calm before the storm. I’ve been […]

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Unemployment Hits Twelve-Year High

Preliminary reports on this morning’s Labour Force Survey emphasize that the unemployment rate reached its highest level since 2003. However, the situation is far worse in absolute terms. The number of officially unemployed Canadians rose by 106,000 in February, pushing the total over 1.4 million. In other words, the ranks of Canada’s unemployed swelled to their highest level since February […]

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Is EI Working for the Unemployed?

The Liberals have promised to monitor the impact of the federal Budget through regular “report cards” on government performance. One key issue to look at is the adequacy (meaning inadequacy) of the EI program at a time of rapidly rising unemployment. The Budget did move very modestly on this front, adding five weeks to eligibility in each EI region, thus […]

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January marks highest monthly employment decline on record

Today’s Statistics Canada release of January employment numbers reveals staggering job losses: Employment fell by 129,000 in January (-0.8%), almost all in full time, pushing the unemployment rate up 0.6 percentage points to 7.2%. This drop in employment exceeds any monthly decline during the previous economic downturns of the 1980s and 1990s. More jobs were lost in January than in […]

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How High Will the Unemployment Rate Go?

Another dismal jobs report for December, with 34,000 more jobs gone (71,000 full-time losses) and the unemployment rate jumping a third of a point in a single month, has got everyone now wondering:  How high will the unemployment rate go in this recession? The “consensus” view of the mainstream economics world is something like this: unemployment will climb to perhaps 8% […]

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NYT coverage of Canada

It is not often that Canada makes the news in the US. Here’s the story from the New York Times summarizing the latest employment data, the economic update and the resulting political crisis. If we use the factor of ten rule of thumb, our drop of 70,600 jobs compares poorly to 533,000 lost in the US (although I do find […]

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Ontario Falls Off a Cliff

The Ontario economy fell off a cliff last month as the US meltdown intensfied the already virulent manufacturing and forest jobs crisis. An almost unprecedented 42,000 manufacturing jobs were lost in November in Ontario alone – that’s one in twenty of the total, and more than the total of manufacturing employment in either Oshawa or Windsor. And 20,000 jobs were […]

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More Rose-Colouring from Statistics Canada

Am I the only one who detected a distinct note of spin-doctoring in the write-up of Statistics Canada’s eye-popping labour force release yesterday? Here are the first two paragraphs of the release: “Following gains at the beginning of 2008, and little change from April to June, employment dropped by 55,000 in July. The unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage points to 6.1%, as many people, particularly […]

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Canada’s Private Sector Stumbles

My take on today’s grisly Labour Force Survey follows: Private-Sector Meltdown Canada’s private sector eliminated 95,000 jobs in July. In other words, nearly 1% of Canadian private-sector jobs disappeared in a single month. The creation of 30,000 public-sector jobs and 11,000 self-employed positions offset less than half of this loss. Although manufacturing accounts for below a fifth of private-sector employment, […]

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Summertime Blues for Canadian Workers

My assessment of today’s Labour Force Survey follows: Devastating Loss of Full-Time Jobs Canada lost 39,000 full-time jobs in June. While 34,000 of these positions were replaced with part-time jobs, 2,000 more Canadians entered the workforce, swelling the ranks of the unemployed by 7,000. One hopes that the Bank of Canada will respond to this labour-market downturn by cutting interest […]

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Stagflation and the Bank of Canada

Ever wonder what the Bank of Canada might do in the event of staflation (high/rising inflation & high /rising unemployment)? Wonder no more. In an interview with LaPresse, our new Governor Mark Carney states, in no uncertain terms, that the Bank’s objective would remain the same as it has been since the early 1990s, namely keeping inflation on target at […]

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All Job Growth in Lowest-Paid Industry

My take on today’s Labour Force Survey follows: Rising Unemployment For a third consecutive month, more Canadians entered the labour market than found jobs, pushing the number of unemployed workers above 1.1 million for the first time since November 2006. In April, all of the modest increase in employment was self-employment. One must ask whether Canadians are becoming self-employed voluntarily […]

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Unemployment Surge

My take on today’s Labour Force Survey follows: Unemployment Although November’s 42,600 increase in employment is striking, the 25,100 increase in unemployment deserves as much attention. While the number of workers employed grew by 0.3%, the number unemployed grew by 2.4%. Proportionally, unemployment growth in the last month nearly equals employment growth over the past year (2.7%). The higher unemployment […]

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Today’s Labour Force Survey and Coming Layoffs

The Canadian Labour Congress news release follows: Employment statistics: no plan for coming layoffs, Georgetti says OTTAWA – “With so many high profile layoffs announced recently that have yet to come into effect, it is hard to find consolation in the modest employment creation statistics for the last month,” says Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress in regard to […]

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Study on Unemployment in Sweden vs the US

http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/sweden_unemployment_2007_06.pdf Right-wingers have countered social democratic citation of the Swedish model as a success by claiming that Sweden has high but hidden unemployment – a claim that recently helped defeat the Swedish social democrats. True, active labour market policies do provide a fair bit of government subsidized employment in Sweden, but, on the other hand there is a lot of […]

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Manitoba Employment: A Closer Look

I just appeared on CJOB radio in Winnipeg. Richard Cloutier asked me about the national manufacturing crisis, but not much about Manitoba in particular. I was, of course, delighted to speak about one of the CLC’s main concerns. However, in looking at Manitoba’s numbers before the interview, I noticed that this province is bucking the national trend in an important […]

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