(484) Good work, Tories! [Canadian Chamber of Commerce report]

Unemployed men hop rail cars 1930sLame jobs performance has brought criticism to bear on the federal Tories from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.  When a pro-business organization like that trashes a dedicated neoconservative entity like the Harper government it’s a true indication that new approaches are needed.  Back in the late 1970s the neocon thing might have looked edgy in some quarters.  It’s about as edgy as an old bar of soap now.  The report is a very good recording of economic life in Canada.  Among the Chamber’s findings:

  • In 2013 the number of “prime working age” Canadians (those between 25 – 54) in employment declined.
  • Employment grew a stunning 0.6% in 2013 – the lowest rate since 2009
  • Youth unemployment is 14% – double the national rate
  • Nearly all new jobs are part time, service sector jobs with poor wages
Canada’s Labour Market Sputtered in 2013 17-page .pdf file

image: unemployed men prepare to ride rail cars in the 1930s, City of Toronto Archives via Wikimedia Commons

(473) Ford Nation’s backyard employment numbers

Rexdale Scary employment data for “mayor” Rob Ford’s home turf appeared as a pinkish, downward plunging line today. Ford Nation’s twin namesakes hail politically from suburban Rexdale, up in the northwestern corner of the GTA, which has had something of an employment meltdown since Rob first seized councillorship there in 2000.  Doug Ford became councillor for Rexdale upon Rob’s ascension to the mayoralty.

Among Rob Ford’s various claims is that the city is booming, going from post-gravy train strength to strength under his leadership.  A leadership embodying an efficiency-minded and sensible skill set and a loyal family-approved team honed away from tax-and-spend liberals in the real world of private business.  Yet even lower-paying retail and service jobs have declined in Rexdale – indicating a reality on the ground that doesn’t match Ford’s grandiose, craptastic world view.  How sad it must be, for a duo that never stop banging on about their business smarts, who fetishize efficiency and management skills like all good neoconservatives, to have such a lacklustre economic picture outside their front doors.

This is what has happened to the Rexdale job market during the Rob and Doug Ford era The Grid

…and sadly: Twitter account parodying Rob Ford suspended
( Mayor Rob Frod ) Huffington Post

(380) Ontario’s jobless youth [Report]

Young Woman WorkingWe’ve had the weekend to absorb the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report on youth joblessness in Ontario.  Pass the Tylenol.

On Friday the good folks at the centre forced us to consider the prospect of a lost generation.  Windsor, Oshawa, Brantford and London carry youth unemployment rates at twenty percent which places them in the same danger zone experienced by many European Union member nations in recent years.  Toronto is right behind these communities with just over eighteen percent, according to the report.  The Statistics Canada data in the document indicates that in five years youth have seen little in the way of meaningful participation in recovery and can expect to continue to live impaired lives in terms of employment.

Ontario’s youth unemployment among worst in Canada: Toronto has highest unemployment rate for 15-24-year-olds
cbc.ca – includes short video

The young and the jobless: youth unemployment in Ontario
CCPA

image: young woman working by Bill Branson via Wikimedia Commons

(325) Chronic, systemic funemployment

Davenport_(PSF)Just because the Internet meme “funemployment” expired sometime during the past winter, or maybe in 2009, we don’t remember exactly, it doesn’t mean the laughs are over…

Essential advice on your lengthy unemployment The New Yorker

Funemployment Radio 
“Day drinking and podcasting” and actually a ton of other stuff from two young Americans who lost their real jobs in broadcasting in Portland, OR a long time ago

image: Pearson Scott Foreman via Wikimedia Commons

(319) UK female unemployment [Study]

AVROWhen the mortgage bomb blew, the banks began caving in, the governments began bailing out, the Baltic Dry Index nosedived, railway equipment, trucks and airliners were parked all over the place with nothing to carry the Great Recession seemed to hit men hard.  The post-2008 crash was in fact nicknamed a “Mancession” because unemployment in construction and manufacturing was a huge part of it all.  It’s also, apparently, the era of the descent of man.  Now, in the UK at any rate, a study indicates the bad news is catching up with women.  Such as the economy there can be said to be in a recovery, or at least skimming past a so-called triple-dip recession, the new action in job-creation is benefitting women less than it should.

Unemployment among UK women rising to 25-year high, survey finds: almost three times as many women as men have become long-term unemployed since 2010, says Fawcett Society
You can link directly to the report from this guardian.co.uk article

image: woman installing electrical equipment in an aircraft plant in the 1940s via Imperial War Museum – Wikimedia Commons

(315) Honey, was that the phone?

orange phoneThe Beveridge curve is not something you find at the pub.  Though, when we learned a little about it the other day we found ourselves thinking of that very place.  You see, the Beveridge curve is getting wider, …and that’s bad.  What is the Beveridge curve?  Basically, it’s the gap between the number of jobs being created and the unemployment statistics displayed graphically.  A widening Beveridge curve is a hint at the social disfigurement of worklessness, it speaks volumes about those who have given up bothering to look and suggests a potentially scary skills gap.  The new jobs of the new economy are not getting filled by those most in need of work: people with less education or who have become stigmatized by underemployment and layoffs.  No longer, it would seem, do job openings and reduced unemployment figures move in tandem.

The Beveridge curve is apparently worsening for Canada, Britain and the United States, not behaving as it has in previous years.  In Canada “skills gap” has become a meme of late with the federal government expressing concern about its impact on future growth, though a BMO report in March seemed to feel the gap is exaggerated.  More evidence that the Great Recession, in case you hadn’t noticed otherwise, really is different.

Columnists and bloggers have picked up a recent field test conducted by a pair of economists probing the depressing nature of the Beveridge curve.  The effort involved sending out some 4800 fake resumes as responses to 600 job postings.  The period of worklessness indicated on the resume determined who would be called back.  The longer that period the less likelihood of a phone call.  Is this the advent of structural unemployment or a cultural mechanism, the stigmatization of the longer term unemployed?  The study provides a living tableau of the Beveridge curve and should have job seekers waiting by their phones reaching for the anti-depressant medication of choice sooner rather than later.

The jobless trap Paul Krugman comments in the New York Times on the Beveridge curve and long term unemployment

The terrifying reality of long-term unemployment: it’s an awful Catch-22, employers won’t hire you if you’ve been out of work more than six months 
The Atlantic

What can we learn by disaggregating the unemployment-vacancy relationship?
13-page .pdf file from Boston Federal Reserve explaining the Beveridge curve with numerous charts and comparing it to the 1970s

Skilled labour gap exaggerated, BMO says: bank disputes federal government claim of yawning skills shortage cbc.ca – see video and link to report

image: HubiB via Wikimedia Commons

(198) New Brunswick

With this alarming turn of phrase the CBC reported on the description of youth unemployment in New Brunswick as: “approaching levels seen in the poorer parts of Europe.”  Randy Hatfield, a poverty activist, was speaking at a forum in Moncton as head of the Saint John Human Development Council.

New Brunswick poverty numbers on the rise  CBC.ca

Poverty costs New Brunswickers $2 billion dollars per year
2011 report from Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

photo: Open CLip Art Library via Wikimedia Commons

(82) Work, weapons, wars…

On, of all days, Remembrance Day, we came across a chart of the unemployment rate for US veterans under the age of 34 (i.e. Iraq & Afghanistan).  The chart is from Business Week online but suburban-poverty.com came across it on a blog called Global Guerrillas.  The latter concerns itself with geopolitical developments and the future of armed conflict.  How do we connect all that to suburban poverty?
The author at Global Guerrillas finds much to ponder as to how this unemployment may influence domestic conditions in the United States.  Is there reason to think these unemployed individuals may act in ways that are genuinely threatening to civil society?  Will they be exploited in a semiparalyzed, financially discombobulated political arena also increasingly full of incoherence and vehemence?  Even those only moderately literate in history find the mind racing to compare this prospect to the story of Weimar Germany, the short lived parliamentary republic (1919-1933) in which German totalitariansim was born.  Add Global Guerrillas to your blog reading list as you watch this part of the way things are developing in the United States.
Global Guerrillas:
Resilient communities and networked economies.  Open source insurgency and systems disruption.

(66) Las Vegas

Worrisome reading about Las Vegas, Nevada and poverty.  Probably the ultimate in suburban statements in its day, one has to wonder what kind of future this desert city has.  A near total dependency on motor vehicles, air conditioning and water from far away makes for some hair-raising possible futures.  Does it seem like the economy there is recovering in any way?  Will real estate values go up again?  Is it a matter of just waiting around for the next real estate boom?

Behind Las Vegas glitz and glamour: a dark city marred by poverty Guardian UK