Canada job survey shows bright prospects

OTTAWA — The Canadian employment outlook remains bright despite the weakening economy, according to a survey that found more employers plan to hire workers than cut staff during the rest of the year.  The Canadian employment outlook remains bright despite the weakening economy, according to a survey that found more employers plan to hire workers than cut staff during the rest .

“Canadian employers expect a positive hiring climate for the October to December period of 2008,” Manpower Canada said in releasing results of its quarterly survey of more than 1,700 employers.

The report is the latest piece of good news from the jobs front after last week’s Statistics Canada report that employment rose by a greater-than-expected 15,200 jobs in August.

Analysts expected last month’s job report to be weaker, following what have been downwardly revised projections for economic growth this year ranging from one per cent to even less.

Global Insight, one of the think-tanks that helps the government prepare its budget projections, in a forecast released after last week’s employment report, said growth this year will be a “miserable sub-one per cent level in response to a very weak first half in Canada and forecast halting recovery of the U.S. economy.”

However, it too projected that “labour markets will remain strong” through this year, forecasting the jobless rate would remain at 6.1 per cent this year and edge up only a notch to 6.2 in 2009.

Not all analysts agree. in an analysis Monday, noted that despite last month’s job growth, the average pace of job creation during the past six months has “turned negative” for the first time since the early-1990s recession.

“You have to go back to the big economic crashes of 1990-92, 1981-83 or 1975 to find the last time employment in Canada actually contracted, on trend, as it is doing right now,” said the analysis by Carl Weinberg, chief economist at the U.S. based think-tank.

“Falling employment promises a rising unemployment rate,” he said. “This is a red flag if ever we saw one.”

The Manpower survey, however, found 20 per cent of employers plan to increase their payrolls during the coming three months while only seven per cent anticipate staff cuts, leaving a net positive employment outlook of 13, which when adjusted for seasonal changes, was a one-percentage-point increase from the previous survey. Of the remaining employers, 70 per cent expect no change and three per cent are unsure of their staffing intentions for the upcoming quarter. “This quarter’s net employment outlook suggests that Canadian employers anticipate a steady hiring pace for the upcoming quarter,” said Byrne Luft, vice-president of marketing for Manpower Canada.

“Employers are indicating that they will continue to increase their payrolls, but at a slightly slower rate than last year at this time. “The hiring climates in Western and Atlantic Canada are ahead of the national forecast,” he added.

The net employment outlook — the gap between those planning to hire and those planning cuts — was 25 in Western Canada, 14 in Atlantic Canada, nine in Quebec and eight in Ontario.

© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2008

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