Canadian March Labor Report Broadly Poor

April 9, 2009

Canada lost more jobs (61.3K) in March than consensus expectations, and the jobless rate climbed another three-tenths to  a 7-year high of 8.0%, above forecasts of 7.9%.  There are 7.9 times more workers in the United States than in Canada. If one adjusts the Canadian figures to be on the same scale as the U.S. labor market, last month’s loss of jobs was akin to a 484K U.S. employment drop, and the decline of Canadian jobs in the last five reported months was akin to a U.S. drop on the order of 564K per month.  The United States lost 663K jobs in March and saw employment decline by 667K per month over the last five months, so Canadian trends were only slightly off the U.S. pace. Canadian unemployment has climbed from 6.1% in September and a low of 5.8% in February 2008.  All of the recent job losses are attributable to full-time workers, which dropped 79.5K last month and by 77.4K per month over the last five months.  Factory and construction jobs accounted for 85% of all job losses in March.  Compared to March 2008 levels, they have respectively declined by 6.5% and 5.3%.  In spite of the rapidly softening Canadian labor market, hourly wages went up 4.1% in the year to March, far faster than the most recent on-year measure of consumer price inflation. Canada continues to experience much more rapid increases in unit labor costs than the United States.

Copyright 2009 Larry Greenberg.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.



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