Review of Economic Statistics — October 5, 2018

Catalogue number: Catalogue number: 36-26-0001

Issue number: 2018005

Release date: October 5, 2018

Review of Economic Statistics — October 5, 2018 - Transcript

(The Statistics Canada symbol and Canada wordmark appear on screen with the title: "Review of Economic Statistics — October 5, 2018")

(Background music plays while title card with the text "Review of Economic Statistics" appears on screen.)

Richard Evans: Welcome to the Review of Economic Statistics. I’m Richard Evans.

Guy Gellatly: And I’m Guy Gellatly.

(Text on screen below presenters: "Richard Evans, Director General, Industry Statistics. Guy Gellatly, Principal Researcher.")

Richard Evans: Guy, today we’re looking at third quarter. We’d love to know what the third-quarter GDP is, but we don’t know that yet. That’s still two months out, but we have a lot of the key pieces just coming in. Notably, the employment report for September, trade numbers for August and the GDP itself for the month of July. So let’s start with employment. You no doubt recall that there was a sharp drop in jobs in the August report concentrated heavily in Ontario. What happened in September?

Guy Gellatly: Richard, a different read in the September report. The overall headline number up sharply. Employment up 63,000 in September, a lot of those gains really coming entirely on increased number of private sector employees. We had stronger employment in goods industries, and that followed some weakness in those numbers through the summer months. And an important part of the overall report: strong growth in September really being driven by gains in part-time work.

(Text on screen below presenters: "Employment rose 36,000 in September on increases in part-time work and private sector employees.")

Richard Evans: The part-time. Now, when I look back over the last few months, I see some offsetting changes. What’s your read of that?

Guy Gellatly: Well, we certainly have seen some offsetting movements in part-time. You could look at Ontario, particularly through the summer months. So part-time in Ontario was up very sharply in July, down sharply in August. The pattern in September is a little bit different, that part-time gain really being driven across Ontario and Quebec as well. And while we’re talking provinces, we should talk about British Columbia because some stronger employment numbers there really driven by the gains in full-time work.

Richard Evans: Alright. And what if we look at Canada as a whole? What was the unemployment rate?

Guy Gellatly: Well that unemployment rate…

Richard Evans: In September.

Guy Gellatly: … edged back below 6%, so it came in at 5.9% for September.

Richard Evans: Alright. And if we move on now and look at the international trade report, you’ll recall that trade had been strong in the second quarter, that exports had edged up in July thanks to higher energy prices, I think. So what happened in August?

Guy Gellatly: Well, a slight pullback in the trade numbers in the August report. Imports down 2.5%. Exports were down 1.1%. In terms of some of the key contributors, we had lower imports of aircraft. We had lower exports of autos and auto products. And then the merchandise trade balance, a real notable development there. We posted our first merchandise trade surplus since December of 2016.

(Text on screen below presenters: "Canada posted a mechandise trade surplus in August for the first time since December 2016.")

Richard Evans: Despite the declines?

Guy Gellatly: Despite the declines.

Richard Evans: Bigger drop in imports. Smaller drop in exports. Positive effect on the trade balance.

Guy Gellatly: Yeah, it tips it into the positive territory, and that follows on some relatively small trade deficits that we’ve had over recent months.

Richard Evans: Alright, very good. And so I referenced the GDP at the beginning of this conversation. Let’s look at the July report. We have July. We don’t have the quarter, but how did the quarter start, in effect?

Guy Gellatly: Solid gain to start the third quarter. Real GDP up 0.2% in July. Manufacturing was the big contributor there, led by gains in chemicals and petroleum and coal products, and that reflects kind of a ramping up of activity after some shutdowns due to maintenance and retooling that we’ve seen after several months.

(Text on screen below presenters: "Real gross domestic product rose 0.2% in July.")

Richard Evans: Awesome. Well, thank you very much for all that, Guy. And just to close out, I’d like to draw your attention to two new reports. The first is a comprehensive overview of women-owned businesses using administrative data. Brand new stuff, please see our website for that. And we also have a new report on cannabis. It’s our attempt to estimate what demand for cannabis will be in the fourth quarter of 2018, post-legalization. Please have a look at that. Both reports are available on our website.

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