Who can forget the farce conducted by Canada’s labor statistics office back in August when, as we reported, “Canada Releases Atrocious Jobs Data; Then Revises It Above The Highest Estimate Following Public Outcry.” It was then that we got our first hint that when it comes to massaging data, Canada is on par with China and even the US.
Well, Statistics Canada just outdid itself moments ago when it reported that those 185,700 jobs gains it had previously reported for all of 2014… well, it was only kidding, and after a second look, the number has been revised a whopping 35% (!) lower to only 121,300. How long until a lightbulb goes over the BLS’ head and the US department of seasonal adjustments decides to do the same?
The “revised” numbers:
Employment gains in 2014 amounted to 121,000 or 0.7%, with the bulk of the growth in September and October. In the 12 months to December, the unemployment rate declined 0.5 percentage points to 6.7%.
Following the release of population estimates based on the most recent Census of Population, a standard revision is applied to the Labour Force Survey estimates. This review is based on these revised estimates released today, which are different from those published on January 9 (see note to readers).
The employment growth rate of 0.7% observed in 2014 was the same as that of 2013, and below the rate of 1.8% recorded in 2012.
Employment growth in the year was concentrated among men aged 25 and older.
There were more private sector employees (+88,000 or +0.8%) compared with December 2013. The number of public sector employees and self-employed was little changed. Adjusted to the concepts used in the United States, the unemployment rate in Canada was 5.7% in December, while the US rate was 5.6%
Just like in the US, Canada’s participation rate also declined:
The population aged 15 and older grew by 1.1% in 2014, a faster pace than employment. As a result, the employment rate declined 0.2 percentage points to 61.3%. The labour market participation rate trended downward throughout 2014, falling 0.6 percentage points to 65.7% in December 2014—the lowest since 2000.
The downward trend in labour force participation was partly due to population ageing. There was an increase in the share of Canadians aged 55 and older, who are less likely to participate in the labour market. Furthermore, the participation rate among people aged 55 and older declined 0.9 percentage points over the 12 months. At the same time, the rate for women aged 25 to 54 declined 0.8 percentage points, also contributing to the downward trend.
Finally, as a result of the above revisions, the Canadian unemployment rate was revised higher from 6.6% to 6.7%.
Perhaps it is about time to put the National Weather Service in charge of all “data collection and manipulation.” And while we are at it, maybe we can put them in charge of the Federal Reserve too?