By: Alex Carrick on October 5th, 2016
U.S.-Canada Industry Specific Jobs Comparisons – Car Makers to Drillers
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 ‘Car Makers to Drillers’ article, along with the two before it, i.e., ‘Retailers to Designers’ and ‘Accountants to Truckers,’ highlights jobs numbers for both the U.S. and Canada in 18 industry-sub-sectors. 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.
Showcased in a box in each of the accompanying graphs is the percent change in jobs from July 2009 (when there were the initial stirrings of recovery after the Great Recession) to the present.
Motor Vehicle Assembly and Parts (Graphs 13A and 13B):
The motor vehicle and parts sectors in both the U.S. and Canada suffered miserably during the credit-crunch crash. Two iconic firms, GM and Chrysler, were forced into bankruptcy protection. The jobs improvement since then has been outstanding in the U.S., +42%, and okay in Canada, +9%. Sales of cars plus light trucks in the U.S. have fully recovered to their previous peak and in Canada, they have been setting all-time highs. Offshoring of jobs and a fickle marketplace aren’t the only headwinds for workers counting on this sector for employment. A sometimes forgotten influence has been worker replacement through widespread adoption of robotics.
Aerospace Product Manufacturing (Graphs 14A and 14B):
An often advanced supposition when the price of oil, and as a corollary jet fuel, began to plummet two years ago, was that airline companies would use their cost savings to upgrade their fleets by investing in more fuel-efficient and quieter planes. If such a trend is underway, the downturns in employment in aerospace product manufacturing, as shown in Graphs 14A and 14B, reveal that U.S. and Canadian firms are not joyful participants. Versus July 2009, the number of jobs at U.S. aerospace firms is -1%. The comparable figure for Canada is +2%.
Hospitals (Graphs 15A and 15B):
With the introduction of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), employment in hospitals in America barely budged for half a dozen years. From 2008 through 2014, there was a great deal of uncertainty about how the system would work, where the compensating monies would flow and even about the legality of the legislation. The latter doubt was put to rest by a Supreme Court ruling. During the past two years, the number of jobs in U.S. hospitals has soared. Graph 15B’s curve showing Canada’s employment in hospitals has displayed a much smoother upward progression. In both countries, hospital jobs are +9% since July 2009. U.S. year-to-date hospital construction starts, according to ConstructConnect, are +39%.
Community Care Facilities for the Elderly (Graphs 16A and 16B):
The aging of the post-World War II baby boom generation, born 1946 to 1964 inclusive, has inspired discussions about the need for far more living accommodations for the elderly. Some of the talk has been getting ahead of itself. Most baby boomers will stay active and not require special arrangements until they are in their 80s. All the same, it’s interesting to note that since July 2009, staffing at seniors’ homes is +26% in the U.S. and an outsized +64% in Canada.
Temporary Help Services (Graphs 17A and 17B):
Similar to employment in the trucking industry, the jobs level at temporary help-wanted companies is studied closely by some analysts for signs of turning points in the economy as a whole. According to this way of thinking, the horizontal smoothing of the curves in Graphs 17A and 17B suggests the U.S. and Canada are transitioning to slower GDP growth. The gain in employment at temporary help-wanted companies in America since July 2009, at +67%, has been much greater than in Canada, +17%. But the U.S. starting point number, on which the percentage change mathematical calculation is based, was buried deeper in a crater.
Oil and Gas Extraction (Graphs 18A and 18B):
The population ratio of the U.S. to Canada is 9:1 (i.e., 323 million to 36 million). The ratio of jobs at temporary help-wanted companies is a much higher 15:1. The U.S. is more reliant on filling positions with part-time workers. In oil and gas extraction, however, the worker ratio between the two countries is 3:1. Even though there has been a tremendous upsurge in shale rock hydraulic fracturing activity in the U.S., it is Canada’s labor force that is more dependent on work in the energy sector. And while new project development in both countries has more recently been scaled back on account of the sharp declines in oil and gas prices, the number of jobs in energy extraction is still +8% in the U.S. and +7% in Canada, compared with July 2009.