Recent Updates

  • Lebanon: BOP (Jun)
  • Nigeria: Labor Force Survey (Q3)
  • Israel: Area of Building Starts & Completions (Q3)
  • Taiwan: Trade Indexes (Nov)
  • Portugal: Trade in Services (Oct)
  • Germany: PPI (Nov), Unfilled Orders (Oct), Ifo Business Climate Survey (Dec)
  • France: Imported Raw Materials Prices (Nov)
  • UK: PPI, CPI, RPI (Nov), CBI Industrial Trends Survey (Dec)
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

Canadian Unemployment Rate Ties 29-Year Low in June, but Employment Growth Is Sluggish
by Carol Stone July 8, 2005

Six months ago, we wrote about labor market conditions in Canada, describing them as a bit shaky after three years of growth. Such hesitancy is still evident in an uneven pattern of employment gains, slow in the first quarter and picking up slightly in the second. Data for June were reported this morning by Statistics Canada. These latest employment increases are sufficient however, to cut the unemployment rate. It reached 6.7% in June, the lowest since June 2000, which in turn was the lowest since March 1976.

Among sectors of the economy, factory employment is continuing an uneven trend. June's modest increase follows a sizable monthly decline in May and the year-on-year performance, at -3.4%, is among the weakest since the recession in the early 1990s. Services are also remarkably sluggish, dragged down – interestingly – by health care and also accommodation and food services. The finance sector and business services, by contrast, are quite strong. Also strong is construction, with a remarkable 12-month increase of 7.6% through June. Persistently low interest rates in Canada, as in the United States, are facilitating considerable building.

The low unemployment rate would be cause for greater enthusiasm, but for slow growth in the labor force. As evident in the table below and in the second graph, the total number of people working or available for work has shown progressive deceleration. Two of the last three months have seen 12-month percentage changes below 1%, the first time since 1996 that even a single month has been that low.

Canada
Thousands
June 2005 May 2005 June 2004 2004 2003 2002
Employment +14 +35 +1.3% +1.8% +2.3% +2.4%
Manufacturing +6 -19 -3.4% +0.6% -0.3% +2.7%
Construction +21 -15 +7.6% +5.1% +5.0% +4.7%
Services Producing -19 +46 +1.5% +1.9% +2.7% +2.3%
Labor Force -2 +41 +0.8% +1.4% +2.3% +2.9%
Unemployment Rate 6.7% 6.8% 7.2% 7.2% 7.6% 7.7%
close
large image