According to recent research just released yesterday, the Conference Board of Canada report indicates that the economy added 18,000 jobs in December. This follows on the back of dismal declines in the jobs market for the previous two consecutive months (October, November). But outlook isn’t as rosy as it seems since part of December’s positive outlook is attributable to an increase of 43,000 part-time positions, at a loss of 26,000 full-time jobs. Most of the new jobs created were concentrated in the goods producing industries where employment was up 0.5%. The manufacturing sector of the economy had a good gain however there were declines in utilities and construction. This fact is accentuated in recent news on the construction markets. And even though manufacturing sector added jobs this month, it still finished the year with a total net loss of 50,000 jobs.
The Statistics Canada October’s numbers demonstrated an important fact: Canada is not safe from the global economic meltdown. After four consecutive months of growth (June – September), the Statistics Canada report showed a slump in October. What’s more, was that there were 31,000 more self-employed workers in December compared with 12 months earlier when self-employment was up 2.0%, and the number of private sector employees rose 1.3%. The number of public sector employees was unchanged. The Index of Consumer Confidence fell 6.5 points in December, and now sits at 69.9—its lowest level in more than two and a half years. Respondents remained prudent regarding spending on big-ticket items, such as a car, a home, or a major appliance and they were significantly more pessimistic about their personal finances than at the same time last year. The Conference Board of Canada also found that wage gains failed to keep up with inflation.
On a year-over-year basis as of October, average weekly earnings had increased 2.7 per cent, below the 2.9 per cent inflation rate—meaning that the average income in Canada actually decreased in real terms over that period
Despite the weaker ICC numbers, retail sales remained strong, which indicates consumers willingness to handle more debt. And the ratio of consumer credit and mortgage liabilities to personal disposable income is now at 139.7%, an increase of 16 per cent since the onset of monetary easing by the Bank of Canada. And credit card debt is up 9 per cent on a year-over-year basis, prompting Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney to come out publicly with concerns over average Canadians exposure to growing debt levels.