Canadian Employment (January) – February, 2020

Another good news report on the Canadian employment front. January reported an increase of 35,000 jobs (0.2%), adding to the increase reported in the previous month. This brought the national unemployment rate down from 5.6% in December to 5.5% in January.

Regionally, increases were primarily in Quebec (19,000), Manitoba (6,500) and New Brunswick (4,600). In contrast, employment was down in Alberta (-19,000). January’s increase was entirely driven by full-time work with gains in manufacturing, construction and agriculture, while the services sector saw little change. Compared to the same month last year, Canadian employment is up by 1.4%.

Meanwhile, employment in BC rose by 3,400 jobs (0.1%) in January, following last month’s decline of 6,300 jobs. Part-time work was the main driver of the increase. By industry, employment gains were reported in just under half of the sub-sectors, led by manufacturing and trade. The provincial unemployment rate fell by 0.3 percentage points to 4.5%. Compared to one year ago, employment in BC is down by 0.1% (1,500) jobs.

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How Do You Deliver Love?

There are plenty of boxes and bags filled with sweets this time of year in just about every grocery store: elegant assortments of truffles, paper Valentines with attached lollipops for kindergarteners to share with friends, and of course, classic little boxes of chalky hearts printed with sweet phrases. Did you know that those little candies have been around since 1866?

It has been more than a few years since I exchanged Valentines with a group of friends in class, but I got to thinking about all the ways that adults deliver love. The single rose tentatively given by a blushing young gentleman to his crush develops at some point into a dozen roses presented at the apartment door on date night. Certainly, those flowers are signs of blossoming love, but what about the love that is delivered invisibly?

The moment when a busy parent suddenly stops in the middle of a sidewalk to tie their little guy’s shoes might just look like a quick interruption to a fast walk, but the gesture is full of love. The person who takes time to stop and chat with their elderly neighbor over the fence often slows down and smiles extra wide as they make small talk, peppering that conversation with sweet friendship and a bit of love. Every time a dog gets a new collar or a kitty is snatched up and plunked on a warm lap… love, right there.

When voices sing “Happy Birthday” in off-key harmony there is love in the air; each time volunteers turn up for a local blood drive or drop boxed goods into to a food donation bin; every time a treasured photo is gently dusted and put back in its place on the mantle, there is love in all of those moments.

Whether your Valentine comes in the form of a small card printed with superheroes and is ripped from a perforated sheet of similar notes, or looks more like a night out with friends that just happens to include a slice of cake with extra forks, love is in the air.

My friend, may you be surrounded by true love this February and throughout the year!

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Communication 101

The I’s have it— When you’re talking about a touchy subject, it’s usually a good idea to use the word “I” instead of “you.”

For example, if your co-worker Tom frequently uses the copy machine and does not refill the empty paper tray, instead of saying, “Tom, you always leave the copy machine empty,” you might try the following, “Tom, I get annoyed that I often have to interrupt my workflow to fill the copy machine with paper.” Chances are, it will divert accusation.

It’s also a good idea to stay away from all-encompassing words—“Tom, I always have to fill the copy machine.” He’s likely put paper in the machine at least once, and because of that, he will be able to throw the example out and dampen the credibility of your observation.

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Canadian Monthly Real GDP (Nov) – Jan, 2020

The Canadian economy grew by 0.1% in November, offsetting most of the decline in October. Driving the increase were the construction industry (0.5%) and utilities (2.1%) where inclement weather in central Canada drove up demand (2.1%).

There were gains in 15 of 20 industries, where retail trade recouped some of the loss reported in October, led by increases at auto dealers. Meanwhile, activity at stores typically associated with Black Friday were mixed. In contrast, decreases were reported in wholesale, transportation (due to an eight-day strike), and in the mining and oil sector (due to the temporary closure of a Potash mine).

Activity at offices of real estate agents and brokers increased 1.3% in November, rising for the ninth consecutive month. The increase was due to higher housing resale activity in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

We expect growth in the Canadian economy to slow down in the fourth quarter to 0.5% after posting moderate growth in the previous quarter. One factor to look out for is the transitory impact on growth of the coronavirus both in Canada and abroad.


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Post Haste

The ubiquitous Post-it note can be mighty persuasive, according to a study by psychology professor Randy Garner at Sam Houston University in Texas.

Participants were given a survey; some of the packets handed out had a handwritten note on the cover of the survey, and some packets had Post-it notes with a handwritten note written on it. Garner found that participants were more likely to comply and fill out the survey if there was a handwritten note on a Post-it.

Not only that, but participants also returned the materials more promptly, and they gave higher quality responses. The research points to the conclusion that requests made on Post – its are interpreted as a request for a personal favor, and people are therefore more likely to comply with requests written on them, even if the person making the request is a total stranger.