Amid all the economic uncertainty out there these days, the Bank of Montreal has a little bit of good news: Working Canadians have had it much better than their American cousins since the financial crisis.
Chief economist Doug Porter looked at the percentage of people with a job, known as the labour force participation rate, for people aged 15 to 64. What he found was that the financial crisis barely registered for this age group in Canada: There was a brief reduction in the participation rate, then things went back to normal.
That’s not the case in the U.S.
Since the financial crisis, the share of working-age people in the U.S. has fallen from above 75 per cent to around 73 per cent.
And in fact, the share of working-age people has been falling since the turn of the century. The numbers suggest that more than 7 million Americans were basically pushed out of the workforce in the past 16 years, because there were no jobs for them to be found.
And the job losses have not been even. While new-economy states like California and New York boom, old industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania have been in long-term decline.
That’s why many experts looked at the electoral map on Nov. 8, in which Pennsylvania and Ohio went to Trump, and concluded that his rise was fuelled by economic anxiety.
Braddock, Pennsylvania was once a thriving center of America's steel industry but once the mills closed, it suffered severe economic decline and depopulation. (Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
Whether it's because he's a billionaire CEO or because he tapped into the frustration of a shrinking middle class, Americans trusted Trump more than Clinton on economic issues.
However, Canada may be suffering a different job-related problem these days: The quality of the jobs being generated has been on the decline for a long time.
Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the latest job numbers from Statistics Canada. They showed that, over the past year, 90 per cent of the net jobs created in Canada were part-time positions. And a new study from StatsCan found this week that job quality for youth, along with pay, has been on the decline for decades.
Let’s not ignore this issue. Trump’s win is a good reason not to.