Contrasting Canadian and U.S. Labor Markets

March 12, 2010

It’s not just Europe and Asia which have experienced milder labor market recessions than the United States.  So has America’s neighbor to the north.

Between February 2009 and February 2010, the unemployment rate climbed 0.5 percentage points net in Canada to 8.2%, while U.S. joblessness increased 1.5 percentage points to 9.7%.

38% of Canada’s 417K loss of jobs between October 2008 and July 2009 was recouped over the ensuing seven months.  The level of U.S. employment had not yet bottomed as of February and was 8.425 million less than at the end of 2007.  Canada has suffered a 258K net job loss since October 2008, which is analogous to a 1.97 million drop in the larger U.S. labor market.  But over the same period, the actual U.S. drop in jobs of 6.20 million was 3.15 times greater than the equivalent hit absorbed by Canada.

Markets cheered a week ago when the United States reported a jobs decline in February of merely 36K after January’s 26K reduction.  Canada today announced that its economy added 20.9 jobs last month, which is like a U.S. market increase of 160K.  Over the past four reported months, U.S. jobs contracted by 110K per month, whereas Canadian jobs increased by the U.S. equivalent of 231K per month.

The composition of Canada’s growth in jobs last month was better than the 20.9K total figure would imply because of a 39.3K drop in part-time workers.  Amid rising demand, firms are rotating away from part-time workers and creating healthier full-time positions with benefits.  Full-time positions rose 60.2K last month and were 0.7% greater than a year earlier.  Self-employment in Canada dropped 17.2K last month, another sign of improved job hiring.  Even factory workers, who bore the brunt of the recession, increased by 16.9K last month.

Copyright Larry Greenberg 2010.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.



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