Early each month, on a Friday morning, experts and pseudo experts from the Canadian commentariat open their Twitter accounts and prepare to wow each other with blasts of news and insight about the latest monthly survey of labour-market conditions by Statistics Canada. We do this because we assume there is no more important indicator of an economy’s health than jobs; and even though StatsCan’s poll of households is a less-than-perfect form of measurement, it’s the best we’ve got. So we tweet the hell out of it.
Delivering real-time insight on the state of hiring has become a challenge of late. StatsCan’s reports read like dispatches from the mid-2000s, or even the late 1990s, when the good times felt like they would go on forever. That’s disconcerting because we are unused to positive trends. The newest figures show employers added 83,000 jobs in the first quarter, compared to an increase of only 36,000 in 2016. Over the last year, employment increased by 276,000, a “whopping” total, says Mathieu Arseneau, an economist at National Bank in Montreal.
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