Review of Economic Statistics — December 14, 2018

Catalogue number: Catalogue number: 36-26-0001

Issue number: 2018010

Release date: December 14, 2018

Review of Economic Statistics — December 14, 2018 - Transcript

(The Statistics Canada symbol and Canada wordmark appear on screen with the title: "Review of Economic Statistics — December 14, 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: I'm Guy Gellatly.

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

Richard Evans: Guy, the third quarter's behind us now, and we're looking at a couple of really important reports that are starting to give us that first picture of the fourth quarter. We're going to start with merchandise trade. One of the really noteworthy things, on the export side, has been energy and petroleum and low petroleum prices. So, tell me, what was the export picture looking like, and did lower energy prices have an impact?

Guy Gellatly: Richard, overall exports were down 1.2% in October, as lower export prices more than offsetting some slightly higher volumes. If you look at lower prices for crude oil exports in particular, that was a major contributor to the decline. So, overall crude exports down 16% in October. Virtually all of that decline is really coming on the price side, and that coincides with those deeper discounts for Canadian-produced crude that really began to take hold in October.

(Text on screen below presenters: "Exports declined 1.2% in October, reflecting lower prices for crude oil.")

Richard Evans: So, if you exclude energy from the export picture, I guess that changes things somewhat.

Guy Gellatly: Slightly different picture. Non-energy exports up 1.6%, and that's supported by some higher auto shipments, and that reflects a drawing down of some of the higher auto inventories that had been building up in recent months.

Richard Evans: Okay, so that's the exports side. That's our sales to non-residents. What about the other flow? The import side and the trade balance?

Guy Gellatly: Imports down 0.6%, and that reflects some lower auto imports. The trade balance—the merchandise trade deficit—actually widened slightly. It's at 1.2 billion in October, and that's pretty much in keeping with more moderate deficits that we've seen really over the last several months.

(Text on screen below presenters: "The merchandise trade deficit widened to $1.2 billion.")

Richard Evans: Okay, that's a good summary of trade. Let's look at the jobs report now. Jobs for November. Now, I understand there were some big movements.

Guy Gellatly: Overall employment up 94,000 in November, as the unemployment rate declined to 5.6%. Now, a lot of those gains on the employment side, coming from increases in full-time work and among private sector employees. So, if you look across the country, six provinces had higher employment in November, really led by gains in Quebec and in Alberta, and, on an industry basis, if you look across, gains pretty much are largely across the board, a lot of the growth is concentrated in services. I'll note professional, scientific and technical services, you had some growth there, and a lot of that was concentrated in central Canada.

(Text on screen below presenters: "Employment increased by 94,000 in november as the unemployment rate declined to 5.6%.")

Richard Evans: All right, and so those are the industries, that's the geography. What about sort of types of employees, the sociodemographic breakdown?

Guy Gellatly: I'll note one, Richard. Core-age employees. So, those of us, basically 25 to 54, they've seen some pretty sizeable gains in recent months. So, you look at the November report, core-age unemployment for men, you're looking at 4.7%. The unemployment rate for core-age women, 4.6%. That's right. So, some fairly low numbers.

Richard Evans: Those are low numbers and very similar. Very good. Now, any cautions there around interpreting those numbers? That was a big increase this month.

Guy Gellatly: Well, certain advice there. Certainly, a very solid signal in terms of the November report, particularly when you look at where those gains are concentrated. So, in a full-time private sector, we always recommend looking at a slightly longer span of data. So waiting for a longer span before drawing any firm conclusions about how the pace of activity in labour markets might be changing, and that's something that's better done, you know, by looking at the longer trends.

Richard Evans: Great. That's a great summary, Guy. Thank you.

Guy Gellatly: Thank you.

Richard Evans: And to further help you with your interpretation of the numbers, a new drill-down map is available in the Labour Force Survey Daily. You can access it there. It allows users to consult the different statistics that are available as part of the Labour Force Survey and drill down in an interactive context. Wonderful new facility. We also invite you to have a look at our new study of the quality of jobs over time. Thank you for joining us.

(Background music plays while title card with the text "Review of Economic Statistics — December 14, 2018" appears on screen.)

(Canada wordmark appears.)

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