Just in time for general election, new Canadian employment survey finds 180,000 more jobs than previously reported

Yesterday, the initial Job Vacancy and Wages Survey (JVWS) release was announced by Statscan. The timing of its release, just a couple of weeks into a three-month long general election campaign, is questionable at best. That the new survey happened to find a previously undiscovered 180,000 job vacancies, 82 percent more than Statscan’s current Job Vacancy Survey (JVS), is even more so. There isn’t much to go on at this point; nevertheless it’s worth taking a closer look at what little there is so far.

First, the release is titled Job vacancies and payroll employment by province and territory, first quarter 2015. Yet the note to readers indicates that data collection only began in February 2015; the so-called ‘first quarter 2015’ JVWS release obviously doesn’t cover the first quarter. Nor for that matter does it cover the ‘W’ part, since the same notes indicate data collection for the wage component is scheduled to start in 2016. Clearly, this was a premature release. The question is why.

Continue reading

Bank of Canada adopts ‘ad hoc’ monetary policy as inflation-targeting agreement renewal looms

Bank_of_Canada

In the run-up to the 2016 renewal of its inflation-targeting agreement with the Government of Canada, the Bank of Canada (BoC) has been openly musing about whether it should continue the practice of identifying one preeminent measure of inflation as its operational guide, and whether that measure should continue to be the core consumer price index (CPIX). In 2013, the BoC published a working paper proposing an alternative measure of inflation it called the common component of CPI (CCCPI).1 In a speech delivered last November, its Deputy Governor suggested the CCCPI will be the Bank’s preferred operating guide going forward.2

Both the BoC’s research and its Deputy Governor’s statements emphasise the common component’s supposed advantages relative to CPIX, but not its limitations. However, comparing the two measures and taking a closer look at the CCCPI, the new measure’s supposed advantages are less than obvious, and its limitations seem significant.

Continue reading

95% ‘somewhat’ to ‘very’ proud to be Canadian *

Proud to be Canadian

Editor’d Note: The public-use microdata file (PUMF) will be released shortly; the following will be updated accordingly.

So 95 percent of Canadians are ‘somewhat’ to ‘very’ proud to be Canadian. Or so some segment of 48.1 percent of respondents to Statistics Canada’s 2013 General Social Survey (GSS) – aka Cycle 27, Social Identity – indicated. If you thought the response rate for the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) was bad, at least that survey asked fairly discreet, straight-forward questions. In addition to the arbitrary questions on national pride and patriotism, the 2013 GSS also contained questions that likely discouraged certain individuals from responding, effectively defeating its purpose.

Continue reading

Why misleading, misinformed screeds calling for the elimination of race-based stats ought to be retired: In the (former) chief statistician’s words

Editor’s Note: This is a follow-up to a post earlier this month that promised to provide historical context.

Chief statistician: Why the census is counting visible minorities
It is in everyone’s interest that debate on issues related to employment equity ‘be supported by objective … data rather than by impressions, unfounded opinion or stereotypes.’
Ivan P. Fellegi

The Globe and Mail
Friday, April 26, 1996

This is the text of a letter sent this week to a number of Canadian
newspapers by Ivan Fellegi, chief statistician of Canada, Statistics
Canada, in response to criticisms of Question 19 in the 1996 census. (One
critic, Reform MP Mike Scott of the B.C. riding of Skeena, had suggested
that Canadians identify themselves as Martians to “send a signal to the
federal government that Canadians have had enough of this garbage.”)

Continue reading

Why minimum wage policies are ineffective: A brief overview, plus Ontario retail sector example

Chart 1 Change in hours and wages, Retail trade, Ontario, 1983-2014*
Chart 1 Change in hours and wages, Retail trade, Ontario, 1983-2014
Source(s): CANSIM tables for Survey of Employment Payroll and Hours (SEPH), Statistics Canada. (See Note 6)

Encouraged by recent initiatives in relatively more prosperous US jurisdictions (Seattle and San Francisco), Canadian labour groups, particularly those out west (BC and Alberta), have taken to calling for dramatic minimum wage hikes. These labour groups cite research they interpret to mean that min-wages do not affect (dis)employment, and assert that mandated wage hikes will help address income inequality and/or alleviate poverty. Unfortunately, the min-wage research to date does not support this assertion. That may have more to do with the challenge of distinguishing between min-wage and other effects. Perhaps the best approach is not to try to discern the direct effect of min-wage policy at all, but rather infer it from broader labour market trends.

Continue reading