Review of Economic Statistics — August 10, 2018 - Transcript
(The Statistics Canada symbol and Canada wordmark appear on screen with the title: "Review of Economic Statistics — August 10, 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.
Elizabeth Richards: And I'm Elizabeth Richards.
(Text on screen below presenters: "Richard Evans, Director General, Industry Statistics. Elizabeth Richards, Senior Economist.")
Richard Evans: Elizabeth, we have some really exciting numbers today. The first big important piece of information about the third quarter—the July release of labour force data. We also have some key components of the second quarter coming in: May GDP and June merchandise trade. So, let's dig right in and look at those employment numbers. What was the picture like in July?
Elizabeth Richards: Employment increased 54,000 in July, while the unemployment rate declined to 5.8%, so, back down to its historic low, and also to where it's been for most of 2018. And it was part-time employment that contributed to the employment growth, while, on an industry basis, we saw gains in education and health care. I also want to mention that public sector employment was a key contributor to growth. So, strong headline numbers in July, really supported by part-time employment and public sector employment.
(Text on screen below presenters: "Employment increased on part-time work in July, while the unemployment rate declined to 5.8%.")
Richard Evans: Great. And dialling back now to May and looking at the GDP picture— it seems like a distant memory now, but I remember some freezing rain and some inclement weather weighing on some industries. What happened in May?
Elizabeth Richards: In May, we're seeing an acceleration in terms of economic growth, so, growth up 0.5%, from 0.1% in April. It was really broad-based this month. Oil and gas extraction contributed to economic growth, and that was the sixth increase for the industry in seven months. Non-conventional oil extraction was also up, following some shutdowns at crude bitumen facilities in April. And, as you mentioned, we are seeing a rebound for some industries after colder-than-normal temperatures, so a rebound in construction and retail activity.
(Text on screen below presenters: "Economic growth accelerated to 0.5% in May.")
Richard Evans: And turning back now to merchandise trade, so the June numbers are out, and that completes the quarter. But first, let's look at the June picture. What were the highlights there?
Elizabeth Richards: Canada's merchandise trade deficit narrowed considerably in June, reaching the lowest level since January 2017. So we saw growth in exports—exports were up 4.1% on strength in energy and aircraft, and higher crude oil prices did contribute to that strength in energy products. On the import side, we saw a slight decline for imports.
(Text on screen below presenters: "Canada's merchanside trade deficit narrowed in June on higher exports of energy and aircraft.")
Richard Evans: Okay. Now what about steel and aluminum? I recall that tariffs were imposed on our products—our exports—to the United States for those two products on June 1st. Did that weigh on the June numbers at all?
Elizabeth Richards: We did see declines for the commodities that are subject to these tariffs, so 37% for steel and 7% for aluminum on a month-to-month basis…
Richard Evans: Drop in exports.
Elizabeth Richards: Right. But I do want to mention these data are not seasonally adjusted, and also the decline is coming after higher numbers from February to May. So again, higher numbers than usual February to May before the tariffs came into effect.
Richard Evans: And what was the key message for the quarter as a whole for merchandise trade?
Elizabeth Richards: For the second quarter, I really want to highlight the export growth. Exports were up in volume terms by 3.8%. So, strong growth—stronger growth than we saw in the first quarter, again supported by strength in energy products.
Richard Evans: Excellent. Thank you, Elizabeth. And thank you for joining us. See you next time.
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