Canada: On the job numbers

Posted: February 10, 2015 in General - Job Figures
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Crawford Kilian has tweeted out an excellent post on how the job numbers in Canada since the Global Recession look impressive but might be overstated. I’m always personally interested in how Canada is travelling because it has a lot of similarities with Australia. Via The Tyee. Is Canada’s Economy Stalled? Excerpt, then some commentary including a critical employment point missed by Jim Stanford:

The Conservative government likes to boast that it has created 1.2 million jobs in the past seven years, an impressive figure on the face of it. But take away some selective figuring by the government and those jobs represent about half of what Canada needs right now, an economist says. Jim Stanford, an economist with Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union, said that while the Tories’ job creation numbers are accurate, they’re also skewed.

The main problem with the job creation boast, Stanford argued, is that the Conservatives open the argument using 2008 — the year the financial crisis hit — as the base year. In that year, 400,000 jobs were lost, but Stanford said those jobs returned in the subsequent recovery — not as a result of a job creation plan. Using that argument, the 400,000 job gains should be removed from the 1.2 million jobs figure the Conservatives cite, he said.

Overall, Stanford said Canada’s economy is far weaker than the government lets on. Stanford and other economists interviewed say they believe the economy is overly reliant on housing for economic growth, and believe the economy will slow over the next five years.

There are some really good points in this article but I couldn’t see where Jim mentions the rise in part-time employment across Canada. Across the West including countries like Australia and Canada we have seen a definitive increase in the percentile of our labour forces which now work in a part-time capacity (I have previously written on the subject back in 2013 via my Random Analytics site).

This point is important because ’employment’ can be measured as anyone doing as little as 1-hour of paid work per week (as per the ILO definition). The real rise in employment numbers can then look robust but the sustainability of the work on offer is diminished from previous decades.

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