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Ontario’s Job Market Squeezing Out Middle Earners: Report

Ontario’s Job Market Squeezing Out Middle Earners: Report.

The Huffintgon Post Canada  |  Posted: 03/16/2014 1:11 pm EDT  |  Updated: 03/16/2014 1:59 pm EDT

ontario jobs

Ontario’s job market is shifting away from full-time, permanent work and towards part-time and temporary work, and middle-wage jobs are being squeezed out in the process, says a new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

According to CCPA economist Kylie Thiessen, middle-skilled jobs are disappearing and are being replaced by both high-skilled and low-skilled jobs.

“More Ontarians are earning either below $30,000 per year or above $60,000 compared to 2000, while the share of workers earning between $30,000 and $60,000 (in 2011 constant dollars) has shrunk from 31 per cent in 2000 to 26.5 per cent in 2011,” the report said.

Some of that has to do with the rapid erosion of manufacturing jobs, the report argues.

“At the turn of the century, manufacturing jobs made up more than 18 per cent of Ontario’s labour market. By the end of 2013, after shedding 290,000 jobs over 13 years, the manufacturing sector represented only 11 per cent of the jobs in Ontario.”

The big shift to part-time and temp work began long before the recession of 2008-09, the report notes, with those types of jobs outgrowing full-time jobs since the start of the century.

Service jobs and construction jobs — the product of Ontario’s ongoing housing boom — have picked up the slack from manufacturing.

The report notes “a dramatic increase in service-related jobs and precarious work,” with service jobs now accounting for 79 per cent of all jobs up from 73 per cent in 2000. In all, one million service jobs have been created in Ontario since the start of the century.

But the province still hasn’t fully recovered from the recession. Because of population growth, Ontario would need another 270,000 jobs to get back to employment levels seen in 2008, before the recession.

ccpa employment rate

Ontarians are spending more time unemployed when they lose their jobs. The average duration of unemployment is now at 22 weeks, a 50-per-cent increase since 2009, the report says. Only Quebec has longer unemployment duration.

The province’s ongoing housing boom has picked up some of the slack from disappearing manufacturing jobs, with some 140,000 new construction jobs created since 2000.

But about 55 per cent of those new jobs are in Toronto alone, highlighting the fact that inequality among regions is growing.

While job losses have been spread fairly evenly across the province, job gains have been concentrated in certain areas, such as Toronto, Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo and Barrie, which all saw more than 20-per-cent increases in jobs since 2000. Hamilton-Niagara, London, Windsor-Sarnia and northwestern Ontario have seen net job losses in that time.

The report said that government austerity at both the federal and provincial level has also contributed to lacklustre job growth in recent years.

ccpa unemployment

Ontario's Job Market Squeezing Out Middle Earners: Report

Ontario’s Job Market Squeezing Out Middle Earners: Report.

The Huffintgon Post Canada  |  Posted: 03/16/2014 1:11 pm EDT  |  Updated: 03/16/2014 1:59 pm EDT

ontario jobs

Ontario’s job market is shifting away from full-time, permanent work and towards part-time and temporary work, and middle-wage jobs are being squeezed out in the process, says a new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

According to CCPA economist Kylie Thiessen, middle-skilled jobs are disappearing and are being replaced by both high-skilled and low-skilled jobs.

“More Ontarians are earning either below $30,000 per year or above $60,000 compared to 2000, while the share of workers earning between $30,000 and $60,000 (in 2011 constant dollars) has shrunk from 31 per cent in 2000 to 26.5 per cent in 2011,” the report said.

Some of that has to do with the rapid erosion of manufacturing jobs, the report argues.

“At the turn of the century, manufacturing jobs made up more than 18 per cent of Ontario’s labour market. By the end of 2013, after shedding 290,000 jobs over 13 years, the manufacturing sector represented only 11 per cent of the jobs in Ontario.”

The big shift to part-time and temp work began long before the recession of 2008-09, the report notes, with those types of jobs outgrowing full-time jobs since the start of the century.

Service jobs and construction jobs — the product of Ontario’s ongoing housing boom — have picked up the slack from manufacturing.

The report notes “a dramatic increase in service-related jobs and precarious work,” with service jobs now accounting for 79 per cent of all jobs up from 73 per cent in 2000. In all, one million service jobs have been created in Ontario since the start of the century.

But the province still hasn’t fully recovered from the recession. Because of population growth, Ontario would need another 270,000 jobs to get back to employment levels seen in 2008, before the recession.

ccpa employment rate

Ontarians are spending more time unemployed when they lose their jobs. The average duration of unemployment is now at 22 weeks, a 50-per-cent increase since 2009, the report says. Only Quebec has longer unemployment duration.

The province’s ongoing housing boom has picked up some of the slack from disappearing manufacturing jobs, with some 140,000 new construction jobs created since 2000.

But about 55 per cent of those new jobs are in Toronto alone, highlighting the fact that inequality among regions is growing.

While job losses have been spread fairly evenly across the province, job gains have been concentrated in certain areas, such as Toronto, Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo and Barrie, which all saw more than 20-per-cent increases in jobs since 2000. Hamilton-Niagara, London, Windsor-Sarnia and northwestern Ontario have seen net job losses in that time.

The report said that government austerity at both the federal and provincial level has also contributed to lacklustre job growth in recent years.

ccpa unemployment

Canadian Student Debt Growing Fast, But U.S. Is Much Worse Off

Canadian Student Debt Growing Fast, But U.S. Is Much Worse Off.

student debt canada

Student debt in Canada has soared in recent years, highlighting growing concerns that post-secondary education in becoming increasingly inaccessible.

But Canadian students can at least take some solace in this: The situation is much worse in the U.S.

According to Statistics Canada’s Survey of Financial Security, released last week, student debt grew 44.1 per cent from 1999 to 2012, or 24.4 per cent between 2005 and 2012.

In all, one in eight Canadian families are carrying student debt, with a median value of about $10,000, StatsCan reported. There was a total $28.3 billion in outstanding student debt in 2012, the survey found.

Yet Canadian students’ debt burden “pales in comparison with the U.S.,” writes BMO economist Sal Guatieri, noting that south of the border, student debt grew 110 per cent between 2005 and 2012, to almost $1 trillion.

The situation in the U.S. has grown so extreme that some experts are calling student debt the next economic bubble.

All the same, Canadian students are seeing their financial obligations grow faster than income. According to a study from the Canadian Centre for Polilcy Alternatives, released last fall, the costs of a post-secondary education — including tuition and compulsory fees — have tripled since 1990.

The CCPA forecasts that costs will rise another 13 per cent by the 2016-2017 student year. Ontario has the highest fees, at $8,403 on average last fall, rising to $9,517 by 2016-17. Newfoundland has the lowest. Its average of $2,872 last fall will barely rise, to $2,886, by 2016-17.

study last year from TD Bank found students are increasingly delaying major life milestones due to the rising costs of education, with the situation being made worse by a sluggish post-recession job market. That survey found average debt load sits at around $27,000.

Tuition hikes were at the heart of the Quebec student protests in the spring of 2012. The CCPA projects Quebec’s average tuition will hit $3,759 by 2016-17, low when compared to most provinces, but a nearly three-fold increase since 1990-91.

But to BMO’s Guatieri, the relatively better position of Canadian students, compared to U.S. ones, is good news for the economy.

Canadian students “could be in a better financial position to buy automobiles and homes than their American counterparts,” he wrote.

David Suzuki: Rail versus pipeline is the wrong question : thegreenpages.ca

David Suzuki: Rail versus pipeline is the wrong question : thegreenpages.ca.

Photo: Rail versus pipeline is the wrong question

The question isn’t about whether to use rail or pipelines. It’s about how to reduce our need for both. (Credit: Dieter Drescher via Flickr)

By David Suzuki with contributions from Ian Hanington, Senior Editor

Debating the best way to do something we shouldn’t be doing in the first place is a sure way to end up in the wrong place. That’s what’s happening with the “rail versus pipeline” discussion. Some say recent rail accidents mean we should build more pipelines to transport fossil fuels. Others argue that leaks, high construction costs, opposition and red tape surrounding pipelines are arguments in favour of using trains.

But the recent spate of rail accidents and pipeline leaks and spills doesn’t provide arguments for one or the other; instead, it indicates that rapidly increasing oil and gas development and shipping ever greater amounts, by any method, will mean more accidents, spills, environmental damage — even death. The answer is to step back from this reckless plunder and consider ways to reduce our fossil fuel use.

If we were to slow down oil sands development, encourage conservation and invest in clean energy technology, we could save money, ecosystems and lives — and we’d still have valuable fossil fuel resources long into the future, perhaps until we’ve figured out ways to use them that aren’t so wasteful. We wouldn’t need to build more pipelines just to sell oil and gas as quickly as possible, mostly to foreign markets. We wouldn’t have to send so many unsafe rail tankers through wilderness areas and places people live.

We may forgo some of the short-term jobs and economic opportunities the fossil fuel industry provides, but surely we can find better ways to keep people employed and the economy humming. Gambling, selling guns and drugs and encouraging people to smoke all create jobs and economic benefits, too — but we rightly try to limit those activities when the harms outweigh the benefits.

Both transportation methods come with significant risks. Shipping by rail leads to more accidents and spills, but pipeline leaks usually involve much larger volumes. One of the reasons we’re seeing more train accidents involving fossil fuels is the incredible boom in moving these products by rail. According to the American Association of Railroads, train shipment of crude oil in the U.S. grew from 9,500 carloads in 2008 to 234,000 in 2012 — almost 25 times as many in only four years! That’s expected to rise to 400,000 this year.

As with pipelines, risks are increased because many rail cars are older and not built to standards that would reduce the chances of leaks and explosions when accidents occur. Some in the rail industry argue it would cost too much to replace all the tank cars as quickly as is needed to move the ever-increasing volumes of oil. We must improve rail safety and pipeline infrastructure for the oil and gas that we’ll continue to ship for the foreseeable future, but we must also find ways to transport less.

The economic arguments for massive oil sands and liquefied natural gas development and expansion aren’t great to begin with — at least with the way our federal and provincial governments are going about it. Despite a boom in oil sands growth and production, “Alberta has run consecutive budget deficits since 2008 and since then has burned through $15 billion of its sustainability fund,” according to an article on the Tyee website. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says Alberta’s debt is now $7 billion and growing by $11 million daily.

As for jobs, a 2012 report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives shows less than one per cent of Canadian workers are employed in extraction and production of oil, coal and natural gas. Pipelines and fossil fuel development are not great long-term job creators, and pale in comparison to employment generated by the renewable energy sector.

Beyond the danger to the environment and human health, the worst risk from rapid expansion of oil sands, coal mines and gas fields and the infrastructure needed to transport the fuels is the carbon emissions from burning their products — regardless of whether that happens here, in China or elsewhere. Many climate scientists and energy experts, including the International Energy Agency, agree that to have any chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change, we must leave at least two-thirds of our remaining fossil fuels in the ground.

The question isn’t about whether to use rail or pipelines. It’s about how to reduce our need for both.

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