By: Alex Carrick on October 5th, 2016
U.S.-Canada Industry Specific Jobs Comparisons – Accountants to Truckers
Jobs statistics serve as a barometer of what is happening in an industry and provide advance indication of where future investment is most likely to occur.
This ‘Accountants to Truckers’ article, plus the ones before and after it, i.e., ‘Retailers to Designers’ and ‘Car Makers to Drillers,’ analyzes jobs numbers for both the U.S. and Canada in 18 industry subsectors. For both countries, the data is derived from surveys of employers. The U.S. statistics come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For Canada, the information is sourced from the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH) carried out by Statistics Canada (Cansim Table 281-0023). CANSIM is StatCan’s online database.
Highlighted in a box in each of the accompanying graphs is the percent change in jobs from July 2009, i.e., the first month after the Great Recession, to the present.
Accounting and Bookkeeping Services (Graphs 7A and 7B):
Since July 2009, accounting and bookkeeping services employment is +12% in the U.S. and +8% in Canada. Workers in this subsector, along with those in financial services (e.g., with banking institutions), information (e.g., the media) and among other professional designations (e.g., advertising), comprise the office-based employment that plays a pivotal role in establishing vacancy rates and determine the need for new office space construction. As an additional point of interest, mid-2009-to-now employment at U.S. call centers and with telemarketers is +27%.
Legal Services (Graphs 8A and 8B):
A significant disparity has developed between jobs in legal services in Canada versus the U.S. The former is continuing to offer good prospects. The latter has seen a collapse from which there has been no uptick. The number of U.S. workers in legal services has been more or less flat since touching bottom in early 2010. One cause may be that a higher proportion of residential real estate transactions have become do-it-yourself affairs in America. While employment in legal services since July 2009 is +19% in Canada, in the U.S., it has gone nowhere (0%).
Computer Systems Design Services (Graphs 9A and 9B):
In the U.S. and Canada, the number of jobs in computer systems and design services was barely impacted by the Great Recession in 2008 through mid-2009. For at least a decade, employment in this sector has maintained a remarkably successful track record. Employers throughout the rest of the economy have often been using computer systems' ‘brainpower’ to manage production while postponing broader hiring decisions. While jobs in this sector are up nicely in Canada, +25% since July 2009, they take a back seat to what has been happening in the U.S., +42%.
Movies, Videos and Music Production (Graphs 10A and 10B):
Graph 10B shines a spotlight on the huge upsurge in Canadian movie, video and music production over the last two years. As it has on previous occasions, the downdraft in value of the loonie (Canada’s currency) versus the greenback has attracted the attention of Hollywood bean counters. Just the same, it’s interesting to note that the number of jobs on film and television stages and in music studios has increased more in the U.S., +19%, than in Canada, +17%.
Food Services and Drinking Places (Graphs 11A and 11B):
As a provider of jobs, the ‘food services and drinking places’ sector might affectionately and accurately be referred to as Old Faithful. Yes, there will be some cutbacks in spending on restaurant dining and bar-hopping when times are depressingly harsh, but the trend will turn favorable again when grudging indications of recovery prevail. In truth, though, there’s a more positive message to be gleaned from the +20% gain in U.S. jobs since July 2009 and the +18% result for Canada. Labor markets overall have improved sufficiently that consumers feel they can ease up on spending restraints and permit themselves to relax and have a wee touch of fun.
Truck Transportation (Graphs 12A and 12B):
The number of workers engaged in truck transportation has been +16% in the U.S. and +11% in Canada during the economic recovery and expansion phases in both countries since the end of the Great Recession in mid-2009. Since so many goods are moved by short- and long-haul freight companies, some analysts view trucking statistics as synonymous with how the economy is performing overall. They find it distressing that the curves in both Graphs 12A and 12B have leveled off in recent months and even retreated a bit. If trucking jobs serve as a proxy for gross domestic product (GDP), then it’s no wonder that the latest output numbers have been a letdown.