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September 2003     Vol. 4, no. 9

Monthly Survey of Manufacturing

Manufacturers put in a solid effort in July, following a dismal second quarter. Widespread increases contributed to a1.7% rise in shipments to$43.0billion. Meanwhile, finished-product inventories fell back1.0%, and new orders continued to gain ground, rising for the second consecutive month. Only the persistent downturn in unfilled orders tarnished the lustre of an otherwise positive month.

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Employer pension plans

Falling stock prices again took their toll on the value of assets in employer pension plans, which fell4.7% in the first quarter. This in turn has forced employers to continue to make large contributions to these plans.

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Labour productivity

In spite of many obstacles to economic growth, labour productivity increased a slight0.1% in the second quarter from the first. This marginal improvement continued the lethargic pace of labour productivity growth that was experienced in the past four quarters.

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Working hours in Canada and the United States

Americans aged16to69increasingly worked more hours than Canadians throughout the1990s, according to a new study examining average annual hours. This hours gap was likely related to the sluggish economic growth in Canada relative to the United States during much of the1990s.

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Impact of free trade on firm size and turnover in Canadian manufacturing

Tariff reductions under the Canada-U.S. free trade agreement increased Canadian productivity through the exit of less efficient firms.

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Labour Force Survey

Employment edged down an estimated19,000in August, the fourth decline in the last five months. So far in2003, employment has increased by only0.3percent, a sharp contrast to the2.6% growth during the first eight months of2002. In August, the unemployment rate increased0.2percentage points to8.0%. The last time the rate was at8.0% was in December2001.

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Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada

Newcomers to Canada are developing a strong attachment to the country, and98% of them said it was the only destination they applied to when they chose to leave their homeland.

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Empowering employees: A route to innovation

Companies that use a wide range of positive human resources practices are more likely to innovate than firms using fewer or none of these practices.

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Family income

Median total income for families in Canada increased 7.7% from 1997to 2001, after adjustment for inflation. Nunavut had the largest increase at 13.2%, followed by the Northwest Territories, Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Income of individuals

From1997to2001, median total income in Canada increased by7.7%, after adjustment for inflation. This increase was most evident in Nunavut, New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories.

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General Social Survey: Social support and aging

New data from the General Social Survey (GSS) underscore the extent to which people in their late40s and50s are uncertain about when they will retire.

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Building the perfect system

The computer systems design industry recorded solid rates of growth in the late1990s before hitting a slowdown in2001.

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Canadian economic accounts

Real gross domestic product (GDP) edged down0.1% in the second quarter, as the impacts of SARS, the mad cow disease scare and a stronger Canadian dollar rippled through the economy. This is the first quarterly contraction of economic activity since the third quarter of2001. Much of the weakness came in April at the height of the SARS outbreak, as the economy posted gains in both May and June. On an annualized basis, GDP advanced3.1% in the United States in the second quarter, compared with a0.3% decline in Canada.

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Payroll employment, earnings and hours

In June, average weekly earnings for all employees were estimated at$693.29, up$6.47from May. This preliminary estimate represents a2.1% increase over June2002.

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Self-employment and productivity growth in Canada and the United States

Almost all the difference in the growth in labour productivity between Canada and the United States during the1990s can be attributed to bigger gains in self-employment in Canada, combined with the poorer income performance of self-employed individuals.

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Social Policy Simulation Database and Model

The Social Policy Simulation Database and Model (SPSD/M), Version9.2, based on1997microdata, is now available. The SPSD/M is a static microsimulation model. It is comprised of a database, a series of tax/transfer algorithms and models, analytical software and user documentation. The SPSD/M has been produced as an occasional product starting in1985. It has been in wide use by policy analysts in Canada studying virtually every change to the tax and transfer system since that time.

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Financial statistics for enterprises

Corporate profits fell7.3% to$40.4billion in the second quarter, from a record high of$43.6billion in the first. This decline followed five consecutive quarters of growth, including a12.4% jump in the first quarter. Once again, the energy sector dominated the results, as crude and refined petroleum prices plummeted after a first quarter surge due to supply concerns.

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Employment Insurance

The estimated number of Canadians (adjusted for seasonality) receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits in June moved up0.5% from May to565,120, marking the fifth consecutive monthly rise. Increases in Ontario (+2.7%), Manitoba (+2.5%), British Columbia (+2.2%) and Nova Scotia (+2.0%) were partly offset by decreases in Prince Edward Island (-8.9%), New Brunswick (-5.2%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (-2.5%).

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Household spending on domestic help

Hiring domestic help isn't just a matter of having enough household income. It's also a question of whose income it is.

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Consumer Price Index

The price consumers paid for the goods and services contained in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) basket edged up0.1% for the third consecutive month, contributing to lowering the 12-month percentage change between July2002and July2003to2.2%. This is the smallest increase since July2002. The CPI excluding energy increased1.8% from July2002to July2003, after rising2.2% in June.

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Construction Union Wage Rate Index

The Construction Union Wage Rate Index (including supplements) for Canada remained unchanged in July, compared with the revised June level of128.0(1992=100). The Composite index increased2.3%, compared with the revised July2002index.

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Participation in export markets and productivity performance in Canadian manufacturing

Companies that expanded into export markets during the1990s as a result of free trade had a profound impact on the growth of productivity in the country's manufacturing sector.

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Canadian international merchandise trade

Canada's merchandise trade balance fell for the third consecutive month to$3.6billion, its lowest level since October1999, as the3.2% decline in exports outpaced the2.2% drop in imports.

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Monthly Survey of Manufacturing

Manufacturing shipments decreased0.5% to$41.9billion in June, culminating a lacklustre second quarter. Manufacturers sliced4.4% off shipments in the second quarter, wiping out the first quarter's gains.

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The taxi and limousine service industry

The taxi and limousine service industry generated approximately$1,120million in operating revenue in2001, up a slight2% from$1,094million in2000. However, operating expenses increased4%, countering the effects of the increase in operating revenue on the profitability of businesses in this sector. As a result, the industry's profit margin (the difference between operating revenue and operating expenses) dropped nearly4% from2000to2001.

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