Depending on which political party you listen to, take your pick
Conflicting news from Ontario’s governing Liberal and the NDP
Posted August 4th, 2017 on Niagara At Large
A Brief Foreword from Doug Draper, publisher, Niagara At Large
I am not an economist, so there are limits to my ability to separate the true picture from any spin a political party chooses to put on those monthly job figures we get from official bean counters for provinces and states across Canada and the United States each month.
And don’t kid yourself. There is no party with a stake in the political game that isn’t putting at least some spin on the monthly job figures. If they are the party in government, the name of the game is to make the numbers paint as good a picture as possible. Those in opposition go looking for numbers that make the governing party look bad.
Usually, the truer picture is somewhere in the middle, but when you get media releases on the month job figures like the ones I found in my Inbox this August 4th from the Ontario Liberals and the NDP, it can leave a person’s head spinning almost as much as a rat-tat-tat burst of Donald Trump tweets.
The first media release, from the governing Liberals, is headlined; ‘Ontario Adds 25,500 Jobs in July’. The second one, from the New Democratic Party, beings with the line; ‘Wages dropping while costs and unemployment rise in Ontario’.
It doesn’t even sound like they are talking about the same province. And I haven’t received a media release on the July job figures from the province’s Conservative Party yet – although you can bet your house on Patrick Brown and his Tories paining a pretty dark picture to, and possibly even throwing in another warning about how much darker it will get if the Liberals follow through on a promise to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour within the next couple of years (a wage rate the NDP was the first Ontario party to press for, by the way.)
I am posting both the Liberal and NDP media releases on the monthly job figures below and if you have a better head on your shoulders for economics than I do, please feel free to share your comments in the space below those.
First the Ontario Liberal government’s release –
Ontario Adds 25,500 Jobs in July
Province Focused on Supporting Job Creation and Helping People Get Ahead
Ontario’s economy continues to perform strongly, adding 25,500 jobs in July. There was an increase of 17,600 full-time jobs and 7,900 part-time jobs.
Employment in Ontario is up 137,900 jobs, year over year. The province’s unemployment rate has been below the national average for 28 consecutive months.
The employment increase was led by gains in the information, culture and recreation, wholesale and retail trade and business, building and other support services sectors.
Highlighted in the province’s 2017 First Quarter Ontario Economic Accounts, Ontario’s real GDP grew one per cent in the first quarter of 2017, outperforming Canada, the United States and all other G7 countries. This builds on a 0.5 per cent boost to real GDP posted in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Increased business investment and consumer spending were the primary drivers behind the overall GDP increase. Business investment grew 5.5 per cent, with residential construction rising by nearly eight per cent.
Building on this economic momentum, Ontario is taking historic action to create more opportunity and security for workers with a plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs. This includes hiking the minimum wage, ensuring part-time workers are paid the same hourly wage as full-time workers, introducing paid sick days for every worker and stepping up enforcement of employment laws.
The government will continue to work with business as these changes are implemented to ensure Ontario’s competitive economic environment continues to support the creation of new, good jobs for people across the province.
Supporting Ontario workers and businesses is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.i
- On a year-over-year basis, employment has increased in many economic regions across the province, including Muskoka-Kawarthas (11.2 per cent), Hamilton-Niagara Peninsula (5.3 per cent) and Kitchener-Waterloo-Barrie (4.9 per cent).
- The 2017 Burden Reduction Report identified $29.3 million in savings, bringing the total amount of burden reduction savings to $152 million since 2011.
- Ontario new motor vehicle sales increased 2.5 per cent in May, the fourth increase in five months. On a year‐to‐date basis, Ontario new motor vehicle sales increased 5.3 per cent over the first five months of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016.
- Ontario wholesale trade edged up 0.1 per cent in May, the sixth consecutive monthly increase. Wholesale trade rose 9.3 per cent over the first five months of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016.
- Employment in 2017 is forecast to increase by 1.3 per cent, or 94,000 net new jobs. In 2016, Ontario employment increased by 1.1 per cent, equaling 76,400 net new jobs.
Now for the media release from Ontario’s NDP –
Wages dropping while costs and unemployment rise in Ontario
New data shows that wages for Ontarians are dropping while the cost of living goes up, with full-time working women and young workers taking the hardest hit on their paycheques.
According to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey for July, the median weekly wage in Ontario was down $15.20 compared to the month before, a decline nearly double the decline seen nationally.
Hardest hit were young workers, whose median weekly wages were cut $40 per week in July; and full-time working women, whose median weekly wages were down $24.80 compared to a month earlier.
“It’s harder to get by under the Wynne Liberals,” said NDP Employment critic Catherine Fife. “Costs like hydro bills have been rising fast, but people’s wages are lagging. That’s leaving families feeling squeezed.”
“Wynne doesn’t get what everyday families are dealing with – like bills that are getting harder and harder to pay while workers face stagnant or dropping wages and less stability at work,” said Fife. “Too many families are at a tipping point. We can’t let Wynne do any more damage.
“And the Conservative leader is certainly not the answer – he actually wants to keep minimum wage low. For his nine years as an MP in the Harper government, he voted against workers’ interests, and he’s still doing it by opposing wage increases.”
The NDP and Leader Andrea Horwath began pushing for a $15 minimum wage in April 2016, and are fighting for better working conditions for all workers. The NDP has committed to fight to improve proposed labour-law changes this year, as well as to create the first universal pharmacare plan – one that would give every Ontarian prescription drug coverage, regardless of age, job status or income.
Regions that have lost jobs over the last 12 months include Brantford (down 2,200 jobs), Windsor (down 6,700 jobs) and Sudbury (down 400 jobs).
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