Status of the Job Market – CBC’s Anna Maria Tremonti interviews Alan Kearns

What is the current state of the job market? Where are the quality jobs? What defines a good job these days? This week is a special podcast recorded from CBC’s radio show The Current. Host Anna Maria Tremonti, Canadian Auto Workers National Representative Laurell Ritchie, and myself, discussed the state of employment in the Canadian marketplace at this time.

The good news is that we are seeing a measure of confidence returning to the employment market. Benjamin Tal, an economist with CIBC, shared from the most recent Canadian Employment Quality Index (EQI) that while employment showed a modest gain, employment quality actually dropped 3.8 per cent. The highest EQI was found in Saskatchewan and Manitoba followed by Alberta. Benjamin reported that the decline in job quality was primarily found in western Canada where British Columbia reported a drop of 8%. The encouraging news in the east was for Ontario, where the EQI increased by 1.5%. As a comparative, the U.S EQI has dropped by 13% over the past 3 years, which shows that Canada is weathering the storm fairly well.

Where is the greatest growth of jobs in our economy? Self-employment has surged by three per cent over the past six months vs. a 0.5 per cent decline in paid employment. I am hearing from a number of HR managers and recruiters that they are now starting to hire again. The lead in the start of a recovery is the hiring of more professionals on contract bases (hence why the quality index has dropped). Once the market has fully stabilized we will see more full-time hiring.

On a very positive note Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, shared at a speech of the Association of National Advertisers last week, “We know we have begun the recovery because searches for terms such as “restaurants” and “dancing” are increasing. I think we should be optimistic.” There are other very positive signs such as manufacturers’ reported rising output. The JP Morgan global composite purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 54.4, up from 53 in September, the highest value since July 2004. The PMI rose to multi-year highs in the US, France, and the UK. All of these are very healthy indicators and build confidence both in consumers, executives, and hiring managers. Confidence is one of the first things to be hit in a downturn, and the first thing to show up in the recovery.

Continue the conversation on my blog. How confident are you about the current job market?

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Optimistic, along the road with you!

Alan

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PPS. Join the conversation on my blog. What do you think of the current job market?