Where is the ‘Union Advantage’ for Canadian immigrants, racial minorities?

These numbers will blow your mind and make you want to join a union
PressProgress (Broadbent Institute) August 18, 2014

A reader flagged this recent PressProgress post. It references data presumably from a recent Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) ‘report’, which the post is intended to promote. The data was obviously sourced from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey (LFS), which collects basic info on respondents’ immigration status, but not race / ethnicity. While the post mentions hourly wage differences for total and recent immigrants covered by collective agreements (but not necessarily union members), it doesn’t mention their respective coverage rates – although it does so for young workers (15%). Perhaps it was an oversight,..

Union Advantage 2014
Canadian Labour Congress August 18, 2014

Curiously, the referenced CLC ‘report’ doesn’t contain a single mention of immigrants (and obviously no mention of race / ethnicity). That’s despite the bizarre images on the CLC page promoting it; of the four young people (see previously mentioned youth coverage rate) photographed (Photoshopped) holding popsicles bearing pro-union messaging, two depict racial minority men.

Did CLC pull the immigrant information from Union Advantage 2014? We’ve inquired, but have yet to receive a response. Will update.

Aside, a search of the CLC site for “union advantage immigrants” returns two search results, neither relevant.

Apparently CLC excluded from Union Advantage 2014 the immigrant labour market data it paid StatsCan to produce; however some of that data was included in the PressProgress post intended to promote its release. As CLC explains it:

We thought pressprogress might have a broader reach for this, so we gave them the data by immigration status.

Which notably doesn’t explain why CLC chose to exclude the same data from the original ‘report’. A follow-up note from CLC:

We also translated the Union Advantage report into more languages this year – I think Mandarin and Arabic, and this is something we’ll be pushing to do more of / a better job with, in the future.

So now more recent Canadian immigrants can read in their first language CLC’s Union Advantage 2014, which excludes data on their labour market outcomes. Or they can read the English-only PressProgress post promoting it, which includes some of the data CLC paid for but inexplicably decided not to publish.

UK Office for National Statistics responds to concern over self-employment. StatsCan? Not so much. (updated August 25, 2014)

Chart 1a Earnings, income by type of work and class of worker (usual hours)
Chart 1a Earnings, income by type of work and class of worker (usual hours)

Source: Census of Population, 2006 [Canada]: Public Use Microdata File. Individual File: Canada. 2.7% sample, Statistics Canada.

To the UK…

Self-employed workers in the UK – 2014
Office for National Statistics August 20, 2014

Readers unfamiliar with the Bank of England quarterly should check out the press conference that followed release of the August 2014 Inflation Report. The increasingly embattled Bank of England (formerly Bank of Canada) Governor Mark Carney found himself facing reporters asking whether the Bank was ‘”clueless” and debating its “degree of cluelessness”.

A particular target of their ire was questionable LFS employment and wage growth data produced by the ONS and cited by the Bank to bolster its case for a sustained economic recovery. A recovery increasingly fuelled by the self-employed, from whom the UK LFS – like its Canadian counterpart – does not solicit self-employment income information.

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July 2014 LFS: StatsCan revision and re-release, plus pre-revised tables


Labour Force Survey, July 2014 (corrected)
Statistics Canada August 15, 2014

Hope this helps those who didn’t have a chance to grab the pre-revised tables before the August 8, 2014 release was taken down. The tables are still accessible using direct links (will upload PDFs if/when they’re taken down):

Table 1 – Labour force characteristics by age and sex – Seasonally adjusted August 8, 2014

Table 2 – Employment by class of worker and industry (based on NAICS) – Seasonally adjusted August 8, 2014

Table 3 – Labour force characteristics by province – Seasonally adjusted August 8, 2014

As per the usual caveat, these numbers are meaningless since they’ll likely be revised again in the future. We won’t bother revising the July 2014 ‘alternative’ LFS release.

July 2014 LFS: An alternative view. Illustrating two critiques of the so-called ‘jobs report’ (updated July 12, 2014)

Chart 1 Type of work by class of worker (usual hours)
Chart 1 Type of work by class of worker (usual hrs) Jan2003-Jul2014

Source: CANSIM Table 282-0019 Labour force survey estimates (LFS), by usual hours worked, class of worker, North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and sex, unadjusted for seasonality, monthly (persons unless otherwise noted), Statistics Canada

By now it should come as no surprise that a guesstimated June 2014 23,400 self-employment gain was followed by  a July 2014 29.200 self-employment loss - with the usual caveat that all these monthly figures are meaningless as they’ll be revised in the coming months.

Following the July 2014 Labour Force Survey (LFS) release this morning, which reported no new jobs yet a drop in the unemployment rate (as more Canadians supposedly gave up looking for work), media focus turned to the recent full-time / part-time employment trend.

Since self-employment was touched on last month, and part-time employment the month before last, why not combine the two? This would give a better picture of employment the Canadian economy created, versus employment struggling Canadians have increasingly tried – but (so far) remarkably failed - to create for themselves in the lengthening shadow of the Great Recession.

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