Friday, December 5, 2008

Harper's ego factor: 104,000 to 1

Canada is losing jobs at the rate of 2,000 jobs a day. So naturally, Harper decides to prorogue Parliament for 52 days, the equivalent of 104,000 the hopes of saving one job: his

Canada loses 70,600 jobs in a month, most since 1982

Canada lost almost 71,000 jobs last month — the worst single-month drop in a quarter of a century - in a clear indication the U.S. recession is beginning to wreak havoc on manufacturers and workers in Central Canada.

Almost all the job losses were in Canada's manufacturing heartland. Ontario shed 66,000 workers - 42,000 of them in factory jobs - pushing the province's unemployment rate up six-tenths of a point to 7.1 per cent.

Overall, the Canadian jobless rate edged up to 6.3 per cent from 6.2 per cent in October, but would have been worse if not for the fact that 48,000 fewer Canadians were looking for work in November.

The shocking jobs report from Statistics Canada comes a day after Prime Minister Stephen Harper stalled an attempt by the opposition parties to topple his minority government over dissatisfaction he was not doing enough to stimulate the economy.

The Liberal-NDP coalition, which will get another chance to unseat the Conservatives in late January, has called for billions of dollars in immediate spending on infrastructure and the troubled auto and forestry sectors.

"Deteriorating global job markets have arrived on Canada's doorstep such that the country is no longer bucking the general trend of lost jobs in most major economies," Scotia Capital economist Derek Holt commented after the Statistics Canada report.

The news from America was no better, with 533,000 jobs lost last month after contractions of 320,000 in October and 403,000 in September. The U.S. is down 1.9 million jobs since last December.

After years of expansion, the Canadian economy has ground to a halt, with little growth in the first three quarters of this year and decline expected in the current quarter. Falling commodity prices and slumping U.S. housing and auto sectors have dealt a blow to the forestry, mining and manufacturing sectors across Canada.

In the United States, the recession appears to be getting worse.

"The economy has been slowing since December 2007. The real question is whether the economy is in a recession or depression," commented Peter Morici, a business professor at the University of Maryland.

It was the worst one-month job loss in the U.S. since 1974. For Canada, it was the most jobs lost in one month since June 1982, although as a proportion of the market it was the ninth-worst since the recession of the early 1980s.

That recession was the worst for Canada and the United States since the Great Depression of the 1930s, with an unemployment rate soaring to 13 per cent.

The sharp U.S. slowdown constitutes further downside risks for Canada.

"With today's dismal employment report, there is no doubt that the Canadian economy is in recession and the U.S. contraction is accelerating," commented BMO Capital Markets chief economist Sherry Cooper.

"While Canada is on a stronger footing than the U.S., there is mounting evidence of deteriorating Canadian residential and non-residential construction, retail sales, business capital spending, profitability and net exports," Cooper wrote.

"Ontario and Quebec continue to be hardest hit, but the plunge in commodity prices and reduced U.S. demand has also slowed the economies in Western and Atlantic Canada."

While many economists had anticipated that Canada's relatively robust labour market would start showing symptoms of malaise, the consensus expectation was for a 20,000 contraction lasts month, and even the most pessimistic had projected no more than 50,000.

November's loss of 71,600 cut deeply into the job creation record for the year, bringing the accumulated gain to 133,000, well below's last year's 361,000 January-through-November improvement.

The battered manufacturing sector was mostly responsible for the job bleeding in Ontario with a decline of 42,000. That took the factory sector's share of employment in the province to 13 per cent - down from 18.2 per cent six years ago.

Overall, there were 38,000 fewer factory workers in Canada, as there was a slight net gain in the category in other provinces.

"This brings manufacturing declines to 388,000 since the peak in 2002," Statistics Canada said.

The other major employment drop came in public administration, with the layoff of 27,000 temporary workers helping to run the Oct. 14 federal election.

Other industries hit with employment decreases last month included transportation and warehousing, which lost 26,000 workers, education (16,000) and agriculture (10,000).

A slight majority of the net job losses came among full-time workers and among men and youth, although most categories were affected.

Employment gains occurred in the health care and social assistance categories, and in professional and technical services.

The weaker labour market has yet to be reflected in wages, however, which remained 4.6 per cent higher in November than a year earlier. That is well ahead of the current 2.6 per cent inflation rate.

Ontario's 7.1 per cent jobless rate now matches Quebec's, which has historically been higher although Statistics Canada noted that the numbers have been edging closer in recent years.

Here's what happened provincially (previous month in brackets):

-Newfoundland 13.7 per cent (13.7)

-Prince Edward Island 10.7 (11.5)

-Nova Scotia 7.8 (7.5)

-New Brunswick 8.7 (8.8)

-Quebec 7.1 (7.2)

-Ontario 7.1 (6.5)

-Manitoba 4.2 (4.3)

-Saskatchewan 3.7 (4.0)

-Alberta 3.4 (3.7)

-British Columbia 4.9 (5.1)

Statistics Canada also released seasonally adjusted three-month moving average unemployment rates for major cities but cautions the figures may fluctuate widely because they are based on small statistical samples. (Previous month in brackets.)

-St. John's, N.L. 7.6 per cent (7.6)

-Halifax 5.2 (5.3)

-Saint John, N.B. 6.1 (6.1)

-Saguenay, Que. 7.3 (7.6)

-Quebec 4.3 (4.4)

-Trois-Rivieres, Que. 6.6 (7.5)

-Sherbrooke, Que. 6.5 (6.5)

-Montreal 7.5 (7.4)

-Gatineau, Que. 4.7 (5.1)

-Ottawa 4.7 (4.8)

-Kingston, Ont. 4.7 (5.8)

-Toronto 7.0 (6.8)

-Hamilton 6.5 (5.7)

-Kitchener, Ont. 6.5 (5.3)

-London, Ont. 6.9 (6.8)

-Oshawa, Ont. 7.8 (7.2)

-St. Catharines-Niagara, Ont. 8.2 (7.7)

-Sudbury, Ont. 5.7 (5.8)

-Thunder Bay, Ont. 5.7 (5.4)

-Windsor, Ont. 10.1 (10.1)

-Winnipeg 4.6 (4.6)

-Regina 3.6 (4.0)

-Saskatoon 4.1 (4.1)

-Calgary 3.7 (3.8)

-Edmonton 3.6 (3.4)

-Abbotsford, B.C. 5.2 (4.8)

-Vancouver 4.4 (4.3)

-Victoria 3.3 (3.2)


Anonymous said...

I disagree with a lot of what you said, but am curious especially on one point.

"Canada lost almost 71,000 jobs last month — the worst single-month drop in a quarter of a century - in a clear indication the U.S. recession is beginning to wreak havoc on manufacturers and workers in Central Canada."

So, if the jobs were lost because of the worsening US recession, then how would a Canadian economic stimulus package fix this? Just curious. At best I can see the package as a temporary band-aid.

Dr Mike said...

If you have a hungry family to feed & your job was just flushed down the drain , then even a temporary band-aid is better than nothing.

Esp at this time of the year the worry of no job prospects is a real kick in the teeth.

Giving people hope is the name of the game & this frees their sprits to spend some of what they do have.

Dr Mike.