Review of Economic Statistics — February 8, 2019

Catalogue number: 36-26-0001

Issue number: 2019003

Release date: February 8, 2019

Review of Economic Statistics — February 8, 2019 - Transcript

(The Statistics Canada symbol and Canada wordmark appear on screen with the title: "Review of Economic Statistics — February 8, 2019")

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Peter Frayne: Welcome to the Review of Economic Statistics. I'm Peter Frayne.

Guy Gellatly: I'm Guy Gellatly.

(Text on screen below presenters: "Peter Frayne, Head, Media Relations, Statistics Canada. Guy Gellatly, Principal Researcher.")

Peter Frayne: Guy, today, we get a first look at new numbers for 2019, the employment report for January, and we also fill out the GDP for the fourth quarter looking at the November report. Let's start, first of all, with the numbers from the Labour Force Survey. We saw that employment grew in the fourth quarter. We also saw that the unemployment rate was at 40-year lows in November and December. So what was the story in January?

Guy Gellatly: Peter, a strong headline gain to start the year. Overall employment up 67,000 in January, on gains in services. That headline increase really split between full-time and part-time work. A couple of notable movements in the January report. First, we had a large increase in the number of private sector employees. That was up over 100,000. That reflects gains in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. Higher employment in retail and in professional services were contributing factors there. Second, youth unemployment was up over 50,000 in January. That follows declines on trend in those youth numbers through much of 2018. The gains for youth in January contributing there, gains in Ontario and in Quebec.

(Text on screen below presenters: "Employment rose 67,000 in January led by gains among private-sector employees and increases in services.")

(Text on screen below presenters: "Youth employment rose 53,000, supported by gains in Ontario and Quebec.")

Peter Frayne: What about the unemployment rate? Did it change?

Guy Gellatly: Yeah, the unemployment rate actually rose. It was up at 5.8% as a large number of people actually entered the labour force in January. So if you look at labour force participation for the country as a whole, that's at 65.6. That's actually the highest level we've had there since late in 2017.

Peter Frayne: Let's switch tracks and look at GDP. It got off to a great start in October, 0.3% increase. Did the economy grow in November?

Guy Gellatly: Peter, real gross domestic product down 0.1% in November, so a slight decline following that strong start to the quarter. We had declines in wholesale, in finance, in manufacturing, in construction really contributing to that lower output in November. At the same time, we had increases in professional services, food and accommodation, as well as public service, really, tempering some of those decreases.

(Text on screen below presenters: "Real gross domestic product declined 0.1% in November on lower output in wholesale trade, finance, manufacturing and construction.")

Peter Frayne: What about the housing sector? A lot of people are interested in that.

Guy Gellatly: Let's look at home building. Residential building construction's actually been down for six months in a row, so if you look at that level in November, it's down just over 4% year over year from where it was in November of 2017. At the same time, if you look at activities for real estate agents and brokers, they've declined for three months now. That follows some modest increases that we had in late spring and early summer. Again, let's look at that November level on a year-over-year basis. Those activities down about 16% from where they were in November of 2017.

Peter Frayne: In closing, I would like to note a study that was published recently. It looks at immigrant home ownership trends in different segments of the market in Toronto and Vancouver. It's based on estimates in the Canadian Housing Statistics Program, and it's available on our website.

(Text on screen below presenters: "")

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