Monday, May 11, 2015

Ontario Silver Medal for Job Growth in 2016 (and over 2013-16)

With all 12 months of Statistics Canada job data now in, 2016 looks relatively good for Ontario with 1.1% year-over-year job growth -- 2nd out of 10 provinces behind only to British Columbia (BC =3.2%). Quebec ranks 3rd with 0.8% job growth. All other provinces have fewer jobs in 2016 compared to 2015.

Let's treat 2013 as the base year for comparison -- the last full year of the Parti Quebecois government in Quebec and last year that we could say that previous Premier Dalton McGuinty's policies were in effect in Ontario with current Premier Kathleen Wynne taking over in February 2013. Ontario ranks 2nd in job growth with 2013 as the base year averaging 0.9% over the 3 years to 2016 and Quebec ranks 3rd with 0.6% annual job growth when employment averaged for all 12 months of 2016 is compared with 2013. BC reigns supreme over this period averaging 1.6% annual job growth.

Over a longer period, employment growing faster in Quebec than in Ontario is one of the little-noticed economic stories of this millenium. Quebec's annualized average job growth of 1.2% has exceeded Ontario at 1.1% (2016 vs. 2001).

Quebec's reputation as one of Canada's economic tortoises dates back to the last century. Quebec jobs rose at a 1.2% annualized rate over 25 years to 2001 from 1976 -- the year that the PQ was first elected. The PQ was in power for 16 years of this quarter-century period from 1976 to 2001. Quebec ranked 7th in Canada annualized average job growth. Alberta (2.6%), BC (2.4%) and Ontario (1.9%) were Canada's economic hares from 1976 to 2001.

Quebec's job growth history fits the tortoise vs. hare metaphor quite nicely. Quebec's job growth since 2001 has continued at about the same pace as the 1976-2001 period. But, Ontario, once one of Canada's economic hares, fell back behind Quebec's job growth pace.

However, the last 3 years mark a restoration of Ontario's superior job growth performance vs. Quebec.

(Update June 2017) Employment data for the first 5 months of 2017 show BC still out in front with 3.8% annual job growth vs. 2016 (not seasonally adjusted). Interesting that strong job growth did not save the BC Liberal government from a narrow defeat in the May 2017 election. PEI is in silver position at 3.1% (after a -2.2% loss in 2016), Quebec bronze at 2.2% and Ontario 4th at 1.35%. Alberta's job market is at least showing signs of stabilizing with total jobs up 0.5% (8th). Newfoundland is last with jobs down another -3.3% so far in 2017 as that province's economy suffers the double whammy of lower oil prices (since the recent highs of 2014) and a fiscal adjustment enforced by the bond market. 

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