Weird is Normal in Canadian Employment Data

Statistics Canada continues to prove its lack of credibility by reporting another set of bizarre employment numbers for October 2012.  Amidst all the doom and gloom employment reports that pour out of US media, Canadian job creation seems to continue on its consistent but lackluster path to prosperity. In typically Canadian understated fashion, things look pretty good on the north side of the 49th.
The employment graph shows that Canadian jobs have grown constantly since the low in June of 2008 to our current record high.  While little changed in October 2012, jobs grew over the previous 12 months by 157,000 (+1.4%) in the private sector and 74,000 (+2.1%) in the public sector.  All job growth has been primarily full-time.
In a similar report today from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, America created 171,000 new jobs in October but not enough to budge their persistent unemployment rate off of 7.9%.  The Canadian unemployment rate also remains unchanged at 7.4%.   Canadian net growth of 1,800 jobs in October evoked the same insignificant response as 171,000 new jobs in the US.  It seems that size really does matter.
The Bizarre
It’s difficult to understand how Statistics Canada can report (with a straight face) that Quebec gained 23,300 part-time jobs during the month of October while Ontario lost 39,800 part-time jobs in the same one month period.  Was there a barista boom in Quebec and a corresponding coffee crash in Ontario? Certainly Quebec students did not all rush out and find part-time jobs in October to start paying for their education. Education in Quebec is practically free! Notwithstanding the low tuition, they think they shouldn’t have to pay regardless.
It is also difficult to believe the StatsCan monthly report claiming self-employed Canadians decreased in October by 14,900 while employee status workers increased by 16,600.  There aren’t any reasonable explanations for this.  I’m newly self-employed and loving it. I assure you that their estimate is off by at least 1 person if not by 100%.  They reported it, but it probably did not happen.
Do you think it’s true that the Canadian Goods Producing Sectors lost 19,300 jobs while the Services Producing Sector gained 21,000 new jobs? They reported it, but it probably did not happen.
It seems odd (unbelievable) to me that that the bean counters could stand behind a report that points to a huge shift from goods manufacturing jobs to lower level service sector jobs while they also report a counter intuitive shift from part-time to full-time employment?  They reported it but it probably did not happen.
The transportation, logistics and warehousing industry and staffing industry recruiters across the country are struggling to find drivers, warehouse workers, sales representatives, customs brokers, dispatchers and management yet Statistics Canada says the sector lost 7,700 jobs.  They reported it but it probably did not happen.
Statistics Canada can be given some benefit of the doubt.  These numbers are pretty small and small numbers lack statistical significance and therefore lack credibility.  That’s not their fault.  But, if the stock markets and governments are going react, as they typically do, to a jobs report that says we only created 1800 jobs, they should first look a little deeper into the crazy components that make up the overall statistics.
The reality is that Canadian employment opportunities abound.  There are good jobs for good workers.  Employment matters and it’s a great time to be a Canadian.
Steve Jones
PS: Check out my new company facebook page and LinkedIn Company page for Steve Jones Business Leadership Corp.  Become a follower, like my facebook page and share your views.

Views: 451

Comment by Denis on November 5, 2012 at 8:57am

Hi Steve,


Just to make a little comment. Québec have created 114,000 jobs since January of this year on a total of about 200,000 total created in Canada. 65,000 of those jobs were full time. The unemployment rate in Québec is 7.7% and 8.3% in Ontario. Your bias against Québec is to obvious... Please, in the future be more objective in your comments...

Comment by Steve Jones on November 5, 2012 at 2:03pm

Hi Denis,

I'm sorry if you are offended by my observations.   Yes, I did poke a little fun at Quebec students who seem to complain too much about having the lowest tuition in the land.   Admittedly, I was not trying to be unbiased.  Keep in mind that I usually poke at Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty in a wholly unbiased fashion too.  And,last week I took a shot at BC's Christy Clark's for her self fabricated employment stats .

While I was not attempting to imply anything about Quebec or the Quebec employment market, I did question the credibility of Statistics Canada reports.

There is some humour in the irony that while I was criticizing the credibility of StatsCan's data,  you responding by quoting the same data to defend La Belle Province - (especially when, and I agree, the province does not require any defending.) 

Back to the data...Do you believe StatsCan when they reported that Ontario lost 40,700 part-time jobs within a 12 month period and that 100% of them (39,800) were all lost in the last 30 days? Do you believe that Quebec gained 44,000 part-time jobs within the last 12 months and that 52% (23,000) of those jobs were all created within the last 30 days?  The two provinces are economically similar. Yet, there is no reasonable explanation for the wild statistical aberrations.  It is simply not credible.  (In my biased opinion) 

The point of the article is not whether any province is good or better. Its just a question whether Statistics Canada has the credibility to tell us about it. 

My comments reflect my opinions to 90% accuracy, 7 times out of 10, within a 10% margin of error.  Thanks for reading and commenting! Salut!


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