This week, Behind the Numbers is publishing a series examining Canada’s economic recovery and scrutinizing the government’s economic message. Monday, we looked at GDP and Economic Growth, yesterday we looked at unemployment in Canada; today and Thursday we will be looking at indicators of employment quality in the economy.
“We will take decisive action to ensure our economy will create good jobs and sustain a higher quality of life for our children and grandchildren.” - 2012 Budget speech
As we saw yesterday, the recovery of Canada’s job market since the recession has been mid-ranged compared to rest of the developed world; a natural follow-up question to this is “what is the quality of these jobs?” ...Read more
Tags: decent jobs·Economy & Economic Indicators·Employment and Labour·Underemployment
This week, Behind the Numbers is publishing a series examining Canada’s economic recovery and scrutinizing the government’s economic message. Yesterday we looked at GDP and Economic Growth; today we’re looking at Employment. And Wednesday and Thursday will be looking at indicators of employment quality in the economy.
“Canada now has the best job creation record in the G-7—one million net new jobs since the depths of the recession.” – Speech from the Throne, October 2013
The federal government has used employment growth, or the raw number of new jobs created since the recession, as a proxy for the health of the labour market. ...Read more
Tags: Economy & Economic Indicators·Employment and Labour·job creation·Unemployment
“Among Group of Seven (G-7) countries, such as the U.S., Germany and Japan, Canada has had the strongest record of growth and job creation over the economic recovery.” - 2013 Budget
“Canada now leads the G-7—in job creation; in income growth; and in keeping debt levels low.” - Speech from the Throne, October 2013
“Our job creation is the envy of other advanced countries…” - 2011 Budget Speech, June 6, 2011
It is now more than four years after the technical end of Canada’s recession and, according to the Government of Canada, the economy is doing great. ...Read more
Tags: economic recovery·Economy & Economic Indicators·report card
It’s often said that public-sector employees are somehow privileged. That they are fat cats. That their wages are rather exceptional. Actually, some commentators even contend that working for the Québec government is synonymous with phenomenal wages and truly out of the ordinary working conditions.
Let’s be honest: getting a government job is usually pretty good news. For most people, it means relatively stable employment with fairly good pay and interesting benefits. In fact, public-sector employees in Québec form a good chunk of the province’s middle class. In comparison with the planet as a whole and with many people in Québec (the unemployed, welfare recipients, precarious workers, etc.), all in all it’s a comfortable position to be in, agreed. However, do Québec’s state employees really enjoy that many impressive privileges compared to other workers in the province? That’s actually just a biased contention. ...Read more
Tags: benefits·government job·group insurances·Middle Class·pension plans·public-sector·public-sector employees·salary·work·working conditions
Ironically, Statistics Canada’s third-quarter GDP report on Black Friday showed the growth rate of consumption being cut in half. Final consumption expenditure grew by 0.4% in the third quarter compared to 0.8% in the second quarter.
Household spending growth fell to 0.6% from 0.9%. Government consumption growth plummeted to 0.1% from 0.4%. In other words, public-sector austerity is taking a bite out of economic demand.
Business investment grew by 0.6%, its best quarter so far this year but still lagging the overall quarterly growth rate of 0.7%. The economy grew faster than household consumption, government spending and business investment because companies produced output that went into inventories. ...Read more
On November 25th, I made the following submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance regarding Bill C-4, Economic Action Plan 2013 Act No. 2, on behalf of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
1. Introduction and Context
Thank you for the invitation to appear before the Committee, as Members of Parliament review the second budget implementation bill for the budget of 2013.
It is a particular honour to appear as a witness, since this committee will only hear eight hours of testimony from witnesses — including one hour from the Finance Minister — over just 2 days of hearings. ...Read more
Tags: Economy & Economic Indicators·Federal Budget
At the end of the week, the United States will celebrate their national holiday, or rather that of the American Dream in its most mercantile, superficial —and bloody— incarnation. At the end of the week, it will be Black Friday, the day which unofficially kicks off the Holiday shopping season. Each year, huge sums are spent in a variety of stores which attract clients with ridiculously low prices on selected items. Last year, around 247 million people spent a total of nearly 60 billion dollars. ...Read more
Tags: Black Friday·Boxing Day·Consumer credit·Over-consumption·trickle down consumption·trickle down economy·working poor
Walmart is holding a food drive for its….wait for it…own employees.
A Walmart store in Ohio is asking employees to give out of the goodness of their hearts to ensure that their fellow associates in need can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner (which in the United States happens this Thursday).
Walmart’s head office is attempting to sell this as a feel-good story. ‘Just look at how generous and thoughtful our employees are,’ says the public relations department. ‘We have clearly fostered an atmosphere of generosity and caring among coworkers. Our employees rally together and take care of each other in times of “extreme” hardship.’ This, apparently, is the Walmart spirit at work. ...Read more
Tags: decent jobs·Employment and Labour·living wage·Ontario·Walmart
In a brochure published this week, IRIS researcher Caroline Joly shows that artificial intelligence (AI) is responsible for more than two-thirds of decision-making worldwide regarding stock buys and sells. It’s called algorithmic trading. We’ll probably hear “Who cares so long as it works?” The brochure nonetheless demonstrates that such a significant transformation has important consequences for us.
We imagine the stock exchange packed with traders shouting out their buy and sell orders, but the reality has changed a lot, explains Joly. At the moment, firms operating on the financial markets are all about who has the best algorithm, the most powerful computer, or the shortest distance separating its servers from those of the biggest stock exchanges. These robots can take advantage of minuscule price fluctuations visible for microseconds only. This is called high-frequency trading. In such situations, no one can compete with machines which exchange more than a thousand securities in a wink of an eye. ...Read more
Tags: artificial intelligence·financial markets·flash crash·HFT·high-frequency trading·traders
The decade long petro-boom has caused major distortions in the Canadian economy, and has driven growing interpersonal and interprovincial inequality.
The flood of petro-revenue into Alberta— the source and destination of the vast majority of petro-wealth— pushed up its per capita GDP from 10% above the Canadian average in 2002, to 49% above the Canadian average in 2010.
Petroleum revenues are recycled throughout the Canadian economy through federal and provincial tax and transfer systems; personal earnings and income from petroleum-related investments; and through inter-provincial trade and employment shifts. These mechanisms, as currently constructed, are recycling petro-dollars in a highly unequal manner. ...Read more
Tags: interprovincial inequality·Poverty and Income Inequality