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Job creation in Canada this year has been the weakest in a non-recession year in more than a decade, and the low quality of the jobs being created is causing some economists to raise concerns about the country’s economy.
Looking at StatsCan’s latest job numbers, released last week, BMO economist Benjamin Reitzes notes that Canada created fewer than 175,000 net jobs in the year to date (meaning all of 2013 except December).
“Compared to November 2012, employment is up a meagre one per cent, with both the goods and services sectors clocking in at that pace,” Reitzes wrote, adding that “this is hardly the stuff of a firm underlying economy.”
Job gains this year have averaged 13,400 a month, the Globe and Mail reports, slightly more than half the rate in 2012 (25,400 jobs per month), and below theestimated 17,000 jobs per month needed to keep up with population growth.
Even the latest numbers for November look negative when digging into the details. While the jobless rate held steady at 6.9 per cent and Canada registered 22,000 new jobs during the month, 20,000 of those were part-time, notes Erin Weir, an economist for the United Steelworkers.
“Broken down another way, 19,000 of the employment increase were people reporting themselves as self-employed,” Weir writes. “Canadian employers actually hired fewer than 3,000 [net] additional employees last month.”
In an analysis put out last week, before the latest StatsCan data, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives argued Canada’s job market hasn’t actually recovered from the last recession.
Although the total number of jobs returned to pre-recession levels in 2011, the rate of growth hasn’t been keeping up with population growth, the CCPA said.
Canada’s economy created slightly more than one million jobs since the recession ended in 2009 (very few of them this year), but in order to keep up with population growth it would have had to create about 1.3 million of them. The CCPA calculates that another 280,000 jobs would be needed to really recover from the recession.
The think tank also notes that what jobs do exist are more precarious than they used to be. It says the proportion of people working in temporary jobs has increased, though only slightly, since the recession. Canada already had a high rate of temp work when compared to other countries, the CCPA noted.
With 13.7 per cent of Canadians in temp jobs, Canada ranks 17th out of 28 OECD countries when it comes to the proportion of people in precarious jobs, the CCPA said.
BMO’s Reitzes notes that governments have been a drag on employment growth. With the federal government and some provincial governments in the midst of budget-fighting austerity measures, Canada has lost 5.3 per cent of all its government jobs since the start of the year, about 51,600 jobs.
“With the federal government and most provinces still looking to balance the books, don’t expect a comeback anytime soon,” Reitzes writes.
He estimates that job growth in Canada would have amounted to 1.4 per cent this year, instead of one per cent, had governments not cut back on employment.
Productivity. Every employer loves it, and every employee is fascinated by it, especially if it comes in cute colors, a retina screen, and weighs under a pound… at least until such time as “productivity” results in the loss of the employee’s job, which in turn makes the employer love it even more as it results in even higher profits, even if it means one more pink slip and a 91 million people outside the labor force.
With a labor force already in turmoil as millions drop out every year never to be heard from again, made obscolete by the latest technological and computerized innovation, and students stuck in college where they pile up record amounts of student loans (at last check well over $1 trillion) hoping form some job, any job, upon graduation, unfortunately the future is not bright at all.
In a recently published paper, “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerisation,” Oxford researchers Frey and Osborne, look at the probability of computerization by occuption. What they find is shocking for nearly half of the US labor force, and especially those in the transportation, production, office support, sales, service and extraction professions.
JPM’s Michael Cembalest summarizes it as follows:
Life after college: be prepared for technology to continue changing the job landscape
There’s plenty of data on unemployment rates and salaries by undergraduate major (the majors with the lowest unemployment rates and highest salaries: computer, chemical, electrical, civil and mechanical engineering; math/physics; and economics. Drama and film majors are a recipe for living at home). A more important long-run issue to think about may be how technology affects your career. Researchers at Oxford just published an analysis assessing what jobs might be computerized in the future. Their conclusion: a staggering 47% of the US workforce, spanning a range of career types. There are vigorous debates about outsourcing, but increasingly, computerization may grow as a factor affecting employment conditions.
In The Man in the White Suit, Alec Guinness invents a suit that never has to be cleaned or replaced. London’s tailors and dry cleaners angrily chase him down in the street to destroy his invention. They are relieved when the suit finally starts to unravel, since the fiber’s design is flawed. Productivity improvements are great things, but there might be a point at which too much power shifts to capital over labor. Anyway, when you think about a career, remember that in some professions, eventually a computer might be able to do it too, or reduce the economic value of you doing it (e.g., the impact of the internet on print journalism).
The good news: those iPad apps are cheap, and most unemployed workers – who were put out of a job thanks to one – can afford them. The bad news: anyone lamenting the return of America’s employment golden age, is kindly encouraged to exhale.
“NSA’s Mission Is Of Great Value To The Nation” – The Complete “Authorized” NSA Thanksgiving Dinner Talking Points | Zero Hedge
It seems getting an 8 pm “escape” from friends and family this Thanksgiving to rush into the nearby World Wrestling Federation Walmart may have been a welcome reprieve for some. Those some in question being NSA agents, and just in case their friends and family got a little too pesky, boisterous or simply inquisitive, all the employees of the National Security Agency and the Central Security Services received a prepared memo with preauthorized talking points designed to “guide” conversations over the Thanksgiving dinner table. Plastered at the head of the 2-page propaganda is a Douglas Adams-like (or was that Isaac Asimov) in its simplicity bullet point: “(1) NSA’s mission is of great value to the Nation.” How was it that “defenders” of the fatherland during the Third Reich were being brainwashed again? But we digress.
Some of the other brainwashing encouraged talking points: “(2) NSA performs its mission the right way—lawful, compliant and in a way that protects civil liberties and privacy; (3) NSA performs its mission exceptionally well. We strive to be the best that we can be, because that’s what America requires as part of its defense in a dangerous world; (4) The people who work for NSA are loyal Americans with expert skills who make sacrifices to help protect the freedoms we all cherish; (5) NSA is committed to increased transparency, public dialog and faithful implementation of any changes required by our overseers.”
There are numerous sub-bullet point to each of these humorous propaganda headers, however the gist is clear. Firedoglake has done some further analysis even if the commentary is largely trivial:
A Misleading Statistic on Disrupting Terrorism the NSA Won’t Stop Promoting
“NSA programs protect Americans and our Allies,” the document reads. “As an example, they have helped to understand and disrupt 54 terrorist events since 9/11: 25 in Europe, 11 in Asia and 5 in Africa. Thirteen of those had a homeland nexus.”
Deputy Director John Inglis admitted in August during a Senate hearing, when pressed by Sen. Patrick Leahy, that US bulk records phone spying had been “critical” in stopping just one terrorist plot. He clarified that the spying on phone records had only “made a contribution” to discovering the 13 plots.
Sens. Ron Wyden, Mark Udall & Martin Heinrich, who filed a brief in support of an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit challenging the collection of phone records of all Americans, explained the Executive Branch has defended the program by conflating it with “other foreign intelligence authorities.” The senators highlighted the fact that the collection under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act had played “little or no role in most of these disruptions.”
“Indeed of the original fifty-four that the government pointed to, officials have only been able to describe two that involved materially useful information obtained through the bulk call-records program,” the senators added. “Even the two supposed success stories involved information that [the senators] believe—after repeated requests to the government for evidence to the contrary—could readily have been obtained without a database of all Americans’ call records.”
At this point, any intelligence agency leader, member of Congress or government official who highlights 54 “thwarted” plots is advancing propaganda to save the NSA from being forced into giving up this power to collect the phone records of all Americans.
FISA Court Opinions Show the NSA Has Not Performed Its Mission in Lawful and Compliant Manner
The claim that NSA “performs its mission” in a manner that is “lawful, compliant, and in a way that protects civil liberties and privacy” is demonstrably false.
A Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) judge ruled, when reviewing a program that was collecting records of Internet communications” that the agency had committed “longstanding and pervasive violations” of prior orders by the court. It found that government officials knew or had reason to know that “portions” of collection constituted “unauthorized electronic surveillance.” This unauthorized and illegal surveillance “included information concerning the identity of the parties and the existence of communications to or from persons in the United States.”
FISC Judge John Bates stated that the government had a “history of material misstatements”—otherwise known by Director for National Intelligence James Clapper as “least untruthful” answers and known among non-members of the national security state as lies. The government had a “poor track record” of exceeding the implementation constraints or going beyond purported privacy safeguards represented to the court.
Another ruling by the FISA Court in 2009 found, the NSA “frequently and systematically violated” the agency’s “minimization procedures,” intended to protect Americans’ privacy, “that it can fairly be said that this critical element of the overall [business records] regime has never functioned effectively.”
As Julian Sanchez of the CATO Institute recently recounted, “For the first three years of the call records program’s current incarnation, the FISC was misinformed about how it really worked. As a result, software tools routinely accessed the data without the required approvals: Of the 17,835 phone numbers searched by one automated alert list from 2006 to 2009, only 1,935 had been vetted for “reasonable suspicion.” Query results were also improperly shared with the CIA and FBI.”
In fact, journalist Marcy Wheeler, who has written in extensive detail on all the released NSA documents so far, has demonstrated through multiple posts that the NSA has continued an illegal wiretapping program that has grown in size since it was first exposed under President George W. Bush.
Targeting a US Person’s Porn Viewing Without Probable Cause
The agency claims the “NSA does not target US citizens or permanent resident aliens unless that targeting is premised on a finding of probable cause to believe that the person is a foreign power or the agent of a foreign power.” But journalists Glenn Greenwald, Ryan Gallagher and Ryan Grim recently published parts of a document for a story at Huffington Post that showed NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander had sought to discredit radical Muslims by spying on their porn-viewing habits. One of the six targets discussed in the document was a US person.
None of these people targeted were believed by the NSA to be involved in any terrorist plots. The NSA wanted to embarrass them because they had a history of espousing views that the agency considered dangerous to the United States. There was no “probable cause” to suggest the persons targeted with this COINTELPRO-style spying tactic had committed any criminal acts of violence.
And so on. Full propaganda below: