employment in canada

Canadian workers have little to celebrate this Labour Day

Canada’s average annual total job-growth rate was less than half the U.S. rate.

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Measuring Labour Markets in Canada and the United States: 2017 Edition

Labour markets are one of the most important components of an economy. They are the mechanism through which we allocate one of our most valuable and productive resources: human work, effort, creativity, and ingenuity. Labour markets match human skills, supplied by individuals seeking to earn a living, with the demand for labour by firms, governments, and households.

Because labour markets are important, the public is often inundated with news stories, usually about changes in employment levels or unemployment rates. However, such stories do not generally provide a clear picture of how a jurisdiction’s labour market is performing. There is a need to measure the performance of labour markets to provide comparisons, the first step toward understanding differences in labour market conditions and addressing possible problems.

Measuring Labour Markets in Canada and the United States: 2017 Edition is the latest installment in ongoing re-search to assess the performance of labour markets. Indicators such as job creation, unemployment, and labour output are used to assess the performance of labour markets in the Canadian provinces and US states over the three-year period from 2014 to 2016.

The study calculates an Index of Labour Market Performance, which is a composite measure of labour market per-formance based on five equally weighted indicators: [1] average total employment growth, [2] average private-sector employment growth, [3] average unemployment rate, [4] average long-term unemployment, and [5] average output per worker. The index scores range from zero to 100. A higher index score means a jurisdiction has a stronger performing labour market while a lower index score indicates a labour market with weaker performance.

Overall, Canada performed poorly on the Index of Labour Market Performance. All but two Canadian provinces are ranked in the bottom half of the 60 jurisdictions, including the traditional economic engines of Canada, Alberta (ranked 31st, with an index score of 52.9 out of 100) and Ontario (ranked 44th, with a score of 47.7 out of 100).

Saskatchewan (score of 59.8, ranked 15th) and British Columbia (58.9, 17th) are the highest performing Canadian provinces, but neither is in the top 10 on the overall index. Six out of 10 Canadian provinces are in the bottom third (lowest 20 out of 60) of the index and four of the five lowest-ranked jurisdictions are Canadian provinces: Prince Edward Island (score of 32.5, ranked 56th), New Brunswick (31.4, 57th), Nova Scotia (31.3, 58th), and Newfoundland & Labrador (30.3, 59th). West Virginia tied with Newfoundland & Labrador for the lowest score on the Index of Labour Market Performance.

The results for Canada’s four most populous provinces (Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia) are not encouraging. Ontario and Quebec both ranked in the bottom half of jurisdictions on all indicators with the exception of average long-term unemployment. British Columbia fared better, ranking in the top half of jurisdictions on each indicator but never ranking in the top 10. A notable result for Alberta is its low private-sector employment growth: Alberta ranked 55th out of 60 jurisdictions on this measure with average annual private-sector employment growth of negative 0.3%.

Delaware topped the list of Canadian provinces and US states for overall labour market performance over the three-year period. The state’s strong performance in total employment growth (2nd out of 60 jurisdictions), em-ployment growth in the private sector (tied for 2nd), and average output per worker (3rd) enabled it to achieve the highest overall index score of 77.5 out of 100. The US states in the West dominated the top of the rankings. Seven states from the West—Oregon, Utah, Idaho, Hawaii, Colorado, Arizona, and Washington—are among the top 10. All of the top 10 performing jurisdictions are US states.

Times have changed: public-sector employment on the rise in Canada, especially in Ontario

Think back to the early 1990s, a period when Canada’s federal and provincial governments faced a major fiscal crisis driven by massive red ink at both the federal and provincial levels.
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This study measures the labour market performance of Canadian provinces and US states from 2007 to 2011 based on five equally weighted indicators: average total employment growth, average private-sector employment growth, average unemployment rates, average duration of unemployment, and average labour productivity.

Alberta, Saskatchewan ranked as best labour markets in North America; Ontario trails Western Canada

VANCOUVER, BC—Led by Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada’s Western provinces are among the best-performing labour markets in North America, concludes a new report from the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank.

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This study measures the labour market performance of Canadian provinces and US states from 2006 to 2010 based on five equally weighted indicators: average total employment growth, average private-sector employment growth, average unemployment rates, average duration of unemployment, and average labour productivity.This study examines the performance of labour markets in Canada and the United States based on a number of factors that help identify healthy, high-performing labour markets.

The first section, an index of labour market performance, measures the 60 jurisdictions across five indicators from 2006 to 2010: average total employment growth, average private-sector employment growth, average unemployment rate, average duration of unemployment, and average labour productivity. These five indicators yield an overall score for labour-market performance.

Alberta ranked first on the labour-market performance index with an overall score of 9.0 out of 10, owing to its top scores on employment growth and private-sector employment growth, second-place score in duration of unemployment, and top-10 placement in average unemployment rate. Three Canadian provinces besides Alberta are in the top 10: Saskatchewan (2nd overall, score of 8.4), Manitoba (4th, score of 7.2), and British Columbia (6th, score of 7.0)

While Canada?s two largest provinces Quebec (12th) and Ontario (16th) rank in the top 20, they continue to grapple with sluggish labour markets with overall scores of 5.8 and 5.5. Indeed, their rankings are more a reflection of poor labour market performance in the United States than robust performance at home.

The second section of the study, labour-market characteristics and regulation, examines four key aspects of labour markets that contribute to their performance: public-sector employment levels, minimum wages, unionization levels, and labour-relations laws.

Public-sector employment in Canadian provinces is markedly higher than in most US states. Alberta was the highest-ranked Canadian province, ranking 31st. Seven of the bottom 10 jurisdictions, including last place Newfoundland & Labrador, were Canadian provinces.

Canadian provinces also fare poorly compared to US states on the measure of minimum wages. Nine of the 10 Canadian provinces occupy the bottom 10 rankings overall.

On the unionization measure, the top-ranked Canadian province was Alberta (24.5%). There is a stark divide between Canada?average total unionization rate of 31.5%?and the United States?average total unionization rate of 13.1%.

The high rate of unionization among Canadian provinces is the result of biased, overly prescriptive labour-relations laws that inhibit the proper and efficient functioning of the labour market by favouring one group over another and inhibiting innovation and flexibility.

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This study is the sixth installment in our ongoing research to assess the performance of labour markets and explain why results differ among jurisdictions. Indicators of labour performance such as job creation, unemployment, and productivity are used to assess Canadian provincial and US state labour market performance.Measuring Labour Markets in Canada and the United States: 2010 Edition is the sixth installment in our ongoing research to assess the performance of labour markets and explain why results differ among jurisdictions. This study provides a series of specific evaluations as well as a comprehensive measure of labour market performance. Indicators of labour performance such as job creation, unemployment, and productivity are used to assess Canadian provincial and US state labour market performance. This study also examines those characteristics and regulations of the labour market that have been shown to affect its performance. Below are some of the main findings of the 2010 edition of Measuring Labour Markets in Canada and the United States.

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