When statistics don't lie. . . well almost

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A manufacturing plant going full rip

No wonder Stephen Harper hates Statistics Canada so much.

The people at Statistics Canada insist on giving out unemployment numbers that he would prefer not be known by the public.

Take last month, for instance. Harper was thrilled to say that the jobless rate was at its lowest in September in five years.

Wow!  That sounded great.

But wait!  It was the lowest September rate in five years. Not quite the same as the lowest rate in any month for the past five years.

The unemployment rate in September was 6.9 %, which is slightly better than the 7.1 % in August.

Harper may not have appreciated that Statistics Canada chose to add that the drop in jobless rate was because of youth who gave up trying to find jobs and went back to living with mom and dad. Not very encouraging.


Stats Can calls them the can’t-find-work people or the “discouraged” generation.

Maybe those young people went back to school, which in the long run is good for them and for society, but you won’t hear Harper bragging that kids who can’t find work are helping boost his economic stats. The actual jobless youth rate in Canada was 13 %.

Harper is always telling us about all those Economic Action Plan jobs he’s supposedly created. It turns out that in September there were 11,900 jobs created in the entire country. Some department stores have more employees.   Compare that to 21,400 jobs created in August. Ouch!  I thought fall was on us and people were supposed to be going back to work.

So what did Statistics Canada report on October 11? Certainly nothing to warm Harper’s heart. The agency reported that “the unemployment rate went down because fewer young people are searching for work.” Ugh!

No wonder Harper has been fighting Statistics Canada for the past six years. Just because the economy is mired in a swamp is no reason for Statistics Canada to be telling the truth to Canadians. Better fire a few more of those Stats Can guys.

Bank economists interviewed by Bloomberg News said they found it “discouraging” that the growth of the workforce is still so weak after the rosy forecasts coming from the Harper government.

Even the Bank of Canada had to lower its economic growth forecast for the rest of the year.

There is a figure that Statistics Canada collects to which most economists pay a lot of attention.

It’s called the workforce “participation” rate which means the number of people out there actually working.   The figure barely edges up or down from month to month, depending on the economy, but it is a better indicator than the jobless rate about what is really happening.

Last month the workforce “participation” rate in Canada fell to 66.4 % from 66.6 % the month before.  It’s not a recession but keep it up month after month for a year and we’ll be back again where we were when Harper came to power.

Sadly 66.4 % is the lowest participation rate since February 2002.  That’s one figure you won’t hear Harper bragging about.

Stats worth watching are include manufacturing jobs which went down 26,000 last month, or construction jobs down 14,100, or public service jobs down 17,400  which is 7,2 % drop in the last seven months.


But hey, natural resources jobs are up 17,400 last month. I wonder where most of those jobs are located.



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