Canadian economy added 41,000 jobs in April: StatCan
The labour market is showing no signs of the slowdown the Bank of Canada is hoping for to get inflation down to two per cent, something economists say could force the central bank to get off the sidelines and raise rates again.
Statistics Canada’s latest labour force survey revealed Friday the economy continued to add jobs in April while wage growth outpaced inflation.
Employment rose by 41,000 jobs in April, but with all the gains made in part-time work.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate held steady at 5.0 per cent for the fifth consecutive month. That’s just above the all-time low of 4.9 per cent reached last summer.
In a client note sent out Friday morning, BMO chief economist Douglas Porter said the latest jobs report once again shows “no evidence that the labour market is softening at all.”
“If this persists through the spring, the Bank of Canada may yet be forced to rethink its rate pause, especially with the housing market showing signs of reviving.”
The Bank of Canada paused its interest rate hiking cycle earlier this year, encouraged by slowing inflation. With its key interest rate sitting at 4.5 per cent, higher borrowing costs should force people and businesses to pull back on spending, and employers to rethink their hiring plans.
But so far, the labour market has remained resilient, despite previous forecasts for the economy predicting a slowdown to start the year.
The central bank has been warning that a tight labour market will make it more difficult to get inflation back to its target of two per cent, as higher wages could put upward pressure on prices.
TD director of economics James Orlando said the details in the jobs report are “mixed.” The economy continued to add jobs, but only part-time work. Moreover, population growth has been propping up employment numbers for months as Canada welcomes more immigrants.
And although the unemployment rate hasn’t budged, Orlando said there are signs that hiring isn’t happening as broadly in the economy.
“In the last three months, we went from almost 90 per cent of sectors hiring to 69 per cent of sectors hiring right now,” he said.
The job gains in April were led by the wholesale and retail trade industry, while the largest losses occurred in business, building and other support services.
The tight labour market is also putting upward pressure on wages. Average hourly wages were up 5.2 per cent on a year-over-year basis, growing faster than inflation.
The annual inflation rate in March was 4.3 per cent and is expected to fall to about three per cent by mid-year.
High wage growth is pushing the Bank of Canada to remain hawkish in its communications on monetary policy, even as it holds its key interest rate steady.
During a speech on Thursday at the Toronto Region Board of Trade, Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem addressed the labour market tightness.
“Most wage growth measures remain around the four to five per cent range. Unless productivity growth surprises us with a strong increase, persistent wage growth in that range will make it difficult to achieve the two per cent inflation target,” Macklem said.
Last month, the Bank of Canada’ governing council discussed raising rates again, but opted to remain on hold.
Orlando said if the economy continues to resist the slowdown the Bank of Canada is trying to engineer, interest rates may not be high enough.
“Maybe the Bank of Canada has to reassess what the proper level or the policy rate is to actually bring the economy to the economic slowdown that’s needed to get inflation back (down),” Orlando said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2023.
Quebec proposes making French mandatory for all economic immigration programs – Canada Immigration News
Quebec Premier Francois Legault has proposed major changes to Quebec’s economic immigration criteria.
Speaking on May 25 with the Minister of Immigration, Francisation and Integration, Christine Frechette and the Minister of the French Language, Jean-François Roberge, Legault says the changes will ensure that nearly 100% of new economic immigrants to Quebec will know French before they arrive in the province by 2026. This is meant to promote Francophone economic immigration in Quebec.
“As we have seen for several years, French is in decline in Quebec,” said Legault. “Since 2018, our government has acted to protect our language, more than other successive governments since the adoption of Bill 101 under the Lévesque government. But if we want to reverse the trend, we must go further. By 2026, our goal is to have almost entirely Francophone economic immigration. We all have a duty, as Quebecers, to speak French, to transmit our culture on a daily basis, and to be proud of it.”
Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration
Knowledge of oral French will be required for adults. This is meant to ensure that those who wish to settle in Quebec will be able to communicate in French throughout day-to-day interactions at work and in their communities.
The changes are part of a new permanent immigration program for skilled workers in Quebec. The province says the Skilled Worker Selection Program will “take into account the diverse needs of Quebec.”
Candidates in the program will be evaluated in four categories that have not yet been made clear, but the province says that three of the categories will require that the principal applicant and their accompanying spouse have knowledge of French.
There will also be revisions to existing programs. For example, the work experience requirement will be removed from the Quebec Experience Program for graduate students from a French-language study program.
Family reunification measures include making it mandatory for the guarantor to submit a plan for reception and integration that will support the learning of French for the person they are hosting.
Immigration is a shared responsibility between the federal and provincial governments. Quebec’s agreement is unique from other provinces in that it can select all its economic immigrants. Quebec does not have the authority to select family class sponsorship applicants or those who arrive in Canada as refugees or other humanitarian classes.
For 2023, Quebec has targeted that 65% of newcomers admitted to the province will be economic class.
Increasing immigration numbers in Quebec
The province is also considering raising the number of permanent selection admissions from 50,000 to 60,000 per year by 2027. This is in stark contrast to Legault’s recent comments that there was “no question” of Quebec accepting any rise in the number of newcomers and publicly rejecting the federal Immigration Levels Plan, which has a target of 500,000 permanent residents admitted to Canada each year by the end of 2025.
These changes also follow Quebec’s Immigration Levels Plan for 2023, where it was announced that the province would move away from plans that forecast only the coming year and begin introducing multi-year plans for immigration by 2024.
Why the changes?
Quebec is unique in Canada as it is the only province where French is the official language. The province is fiercely protective of its language, saying it is vital to protecting Quebec’s unique culture and status.
Legault is the leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) and is currently in his second term as Quebec’s premier, having been reelected last October. One of the main pillars of the CAQ party is to protect the French language in Quebec.
Immigration was one of the key issues in the recent election. Throughout his campaign, Legault said that Quebec would allow only 50,000 immigrants per year into the province as it would be difficult to accommodate and integrate more than that into Quebec society. He said that accepting more than that would be “a bit suicidal.”
Regardless, Quebec, like the rest of Canada, is experiencing a labour shortage as the population ages and the birth rate remains low. A report released last March by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business shows that the province could face an annual shortfall of up to nearly 18,000 immigrants, who would be able to fill Quebec’s labour needs.
Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration
Lira hits record low, but stocks rise after Erdogan win in Turkey
The Turkish leader won the presidency for a third time after a run-off vote on Sunday.
The Turkish lira has plunged to record lows after the re-election of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a sign that currency markets are not confident in the country’s economic future after the longtime leader’s re-election.
The Turkish currency weakened to 20.01 to the dollar on Monday after the high-stakes run-off a day earlier.
But Turkish stocks, on the other hand, rose as Erdogan entered a third decade in power with the benchmark BIST-100 index up 3.5 percent and the banking index rising more than 1 percent.
The lira fell to a record low as the country battles a cost of living crisis and depleted foreign reserves.
On the campaign trail, Erdogan pledged to slash inflation to single digits and boost economic growth, a message he reiterated in his victory speech late on Sunday. But analysts said his economic policies are unorthodox and predicted they will lead to more pain for Turks.
“In our view, Erdogan’s biggest challenge is Turkey’s economy,” Roger Mark, an analyst at the Ninety One investment management firm told the Reuters news agency. “His victory comes against a backdrop of perilous economic imbalances with his heterodox economic model proving increasingly unsustainable”.
Hasnain Malik, head of equity research at Tellimer, an emerging markets research firm, told the agency: “An Erdogan win offers no comfort for any foreign investor.”
“Only the most optimistic would hope that Erdogan now feels sufficiently secure politically to revert to orthodox economic policy,” he said.
Interest rate cuts sought by Erdogan sparked a devaluation of the Turkish lira in late 2021 and sent inflation to a 24-year peak of 85.5 percent last year. The president had argued that higher interest rates cause inflation while central banks around the world were raising rates to reduce price rises.
Turkey’s struggling economy, also reeling after the country’s devastating double earthquakes in February, was a major thorn in Erdogan’s prospect for re-election.
The leader has defended his economic policies, reassuring Turks that investment, production, exports and an eventual current account surplus will drive up Turkey’s gross domestic product.
U.S. economy and new incentives put Canada at disadvantage in Stellantis negotiations, professor says
Two weeks of negotiations between the federal and provincial governments and Stellantis have failed to produce a new deal for the NextStar EV battery plant in Windsor, Ont. Ian Lee, an associate professor at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business, says the economic might of the U.S., coupled with the incentives offered in recent legislation, make it extremely challenging for Canada to compete.
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