OTTAWA — Don’t expect Canada’s employment picture to improve in any significant way soon.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty concedes that job creation in this country will be “modest” at best this year. But a spokesman for a major workforce consultancy group goes even further, saying the employment market is actually “flat-lining.”
Byrne Luft, vice-president of operations at Manpower Canada, blames poor productivity, a skills mismatch and high labour costs for many of our problems.
OTTAWA — Something is stirring in Canada’s manufacturing base.
The value of our dollar is down, and that has helped push employment up in a sector that dearly needs it.
However, there is more to the story: Regardless of currency fluctuations, companies that export their products to the United States, in particular, have been looking for more flexibility in the way they build market share and create jobs.
So far, and despite big job losses since the recession, that has been a slow process. But it appears to be paying off.
We've been hearing a lot about a "comeback" or even a "renaissance" in U.S. manufacturing this year. Is it real? Well, it depends on what you mean. So far, there hasn't been much of a revival in manufacturing jobs. Take a look at the chart of U.S. manufacturing payrolls — any gains will pale in comparison to where we once were:
WASHINGTON: US manufacturing growth accelerated in May for the first time in six months, propelled by more new orders and an increase in hiring. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Monday that its manufacturing index rose to 52.8 last month from 51.5 in April. That's the highest reading since February. Any reading above 50 signals expansion. The pickup in factory activity suggests the economy may be growing again after shrinking in the first three months of the year. Still, overall growth remains slow, held back by a range of factors.
Manufacturing firms are squeezing the more hours ever out of their employees than at any time since World War II. For Barclays' Cooper Howes, that means more hiring is around the corner for a sector that hasn't seen a whole lot of since the Great Recession. The average hourly workweek in manufacturing now averages 42, most since 1945. Chart: