Saturday, December 5, 2009

What makes a "star recession-beater"?

It's natural for a paper to spin the news about the local economy in the most favourable way possible. Take this example from the London Free Press:

London emerged as a star recession-beater last month, posting the steepest unemployment drop among major Canadian cities.

The jobless rate in London- St. Thomas -- a region hammered by the downturn, with thousands of manufacturing job losses -- fell in November to 9.9% from 10.9%. The national unemployment rate also fell, to 8.5%, with the addition of 79,000 jobs.

Now the first thing that jumps out is the fact that London remains worse than the national average. This data seems to come from the same source as that presented in this article, so let's have a look at this in a bit more detail. From the map in the CBC article, here are the cities in which unemployment actually decreased (sorry about the lousy formatting):

City November October Decrease
Windsor 13.5% 13.7% 0.2%
London 9.9% 10.8% 0.9%
Toronto 9.5% 9.6% 0.1%
Sudbury 9.4% 10.1% 0.7%
Thunder Bay 8.5% 8.8% 0.3%
Hamilton 8.0% 8.4% 0.4%
Ottawa 5.8% 5.9% 0.1%
Montréal 9.1% 9.3% 0.2%
Trois-Rivières 8.9% 9.2% 0.3%
Saguenay 7.6% 7.8% 0.2%
Sherbrooke 5.7% 6.4% 0.7%
Gatineau 5.4% 5.48% 0.08%
Québec City 5.3% 5.4% 0.1%
Abbotsford 7.8% 8.0% 0.2%
Winnipeg 5.4% 5.8% 0.4%
Regina 4.9% 5.1% 0.2%

So while the Forest City may indeed be seeing some green shoots, they have some distance to go before they catch up with many other cities in Ontario, not to mention much of the rest of the country. To be fair, I haven't shown the cities where the rate has increased, but even some of those still have a lower unemployment rate than London. Vancouver, for instance, has an unemployment rate of 7.5%, up from 7.3% a month ago, but still pretty respectable, and better than the national average. And of course, as noted previously, the unemployment rate doesn't account for people who have given up trying.

Of course, if this should turn out to be a trend, this would indeed be excellent news for London, but it could just as easily be a blip.

1 comment:

unclebob said...

And there lies the problem with group dynamics element of leadership says " things are great" while other say there are not.

The problem is that the group is incapable of responding in an appropriate manner.

Whether you are left or right in perspective , when we are in group think, we have to be very careful to avoid being muddled.

To a group seeking guidance, unfortunately the loudest voice is usually heard, whether or not it is the right one.