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CANADIAN JOB MARKET -- Mini update Oct/Nov 2010

General Observations:

In October Canada had a net gain of 3,000 jobs based on 47,000 new full time jobs and the loss of 44,200 part time jobs.  The unemployment rate improved slightly to 7.9% from the 8.0% reading in September. 

The Canadian dollar has flirted with parity to the US dollar over the last month or so and at time of writing was at 98c US.  The markets continue to show some volatility but having said that there has been no precipitous drop or huge gain over the last month.  The general trend remains positive and the TSX was basically the same as last month with a reading of 12,657, after a 500 point gain the previous month.

October for Eagle was a VERY busy month and we are definitely seeing increasing demand almost across the board.  The GTA (Greater Toronto Area) continues to lead the way, but not far behind is the Alberta market with Calgary getting very hot and Edmonton heating up too.  Montreal and Vancouver continue to show signs of life but the National Capital region is just not a hotbed of opportunity at the moment.

More Specifically:

The GTA(Greater Toronto Area) has been Eagle’s busiest market for most of this calendar year.  It was the first market into the recession, probably because of the financial sector, and for that same reason was the first market out of the recession.  Demand does not seem to be abating and we are experiencing as busy a period as we have encountered in many months … yippee!  Our observation would suggest this boom is affecting the large system integrators too, who are winning their share of business too in addition to the staffing players.  This makes Toronto a great place if you are looking for a job and happen to have the in-demand skills … the biggest demand being functional experience in the financial or telecommunications sector.  Technically the demand seems to be across the board, developers to project managers and network analysts to business analysts.  This spike in demand again means our clients MUST act fast to get the best people, who generally all have multiple opportunities.

In Western Canada, the demand for people in Calgary continues to boom and the Edmonton market has also heated up.  In Calgary, employers have found that they need to make hiring decisions quickly in order to get the best talent because people are getting multiple offers, and decisive hiring wins the day.  Business analysts with pertinent industry experience are still an in-demand resource, but companies are ramping up across the board looking for everything from developers to project managers.  We are also seeing a growing number of demands for accounting resources from junior positions through VP roles.   Edmonton has seen a spike in demand for full time resources, the integrators seem to be getting busy here and there is a general buzz in the market.  While Vancouver has gotten a little busier there are still good candidates “out there” looking for their next job.

Eagle’s Eastern Canada region remains a little slower than the rest of the country although Montreal is the bright light here with an increasing demand, most particularly in the full time space.  This demand, like Toronto, is coming mostly from the banking and telecommunications industries. The National Capital Region seems to remain slow, with no big initiatives starting and most of the opportunities being hotly contested at very low rates.  There is also a continued pall from the CRA’s focus on the “independence” of incorporated contractors, government reviews on the use of temporary help and a procurement process that appears to be having serious challenges.

The following are some facts/indicators we are watching as of time of writing:

> The price of oil is back down just a little at $80.78, but with HST those in Ontario are paying more to fill their tanks.
> We continue to hear about volatile markets, international concerns about debt and inflation/deflation but the bottom line here is the TSX is about where it was last month, a healthy 12,657.
> The Canadian dollar has flirted with US dollar parity several times recently, but at time of writing it sits at 98cents US.
> Prime remains at 3% after three recent increases, and is not expected to rise again soon!
> Canada added 3,000 jobs net based on 47,000 new full time jobs and the loss of 44,200 part time jobs, and for the second month running there was a slight improvement in the unemployment rate to 7.9% from 8.0%. 
> Eagle continues to see a pickup in activity in most sectors, banks, energy companies, and telcos in particular.  Clients are recognizing the need to develop recruitment and retention strategies, in addition to having smooth efficient hiring practices.
> The Canadian Federal government seems to have slowed spending and reduced its employment ranks.  Suppliers in this market are all hurting a little.  The focus on independent contractors and the staffing industry is particularly painful.


The story has been the same for some time now … the recovery is slow but steady, however it IS a recovery.  The Staffing Index is only 6 points off its benchmark 100 points which was set pre-recession, and across the staffing industry I am hearing that almost everyone is busy.  Companies are still very conscious of containing costs however, so we still hear that outplacement companies are busy … which means that there are still some good people “out there”, for now!

For some months it has been the financial sector and telecommunications sector that have been hottest, with insurance, retail and government all “picking up”.  The GTA remains the hottest job market in Canada, followed relatively closely by the “getting hotter” Calgary.  After them we are seeing lots of activity in Edmonton and Montreal, some increased business in Vancouver but still a little slow in Ottawa. 

The financial markets have been relatively steady if viewed month by month, rather than hour by hour which is what seems to get the press “excited”.  World “crises” such as economic problems in Ireland, Greece et al will get brought under control.  The perceived economic imbalances created by an artificially low Chinese currency for example will get resolved and our global economy will get back to the reality that “we are so interdependent in this 21stcentury, that we just have to make it work”.

That is my monthly look at the Canadian job market and some of its influences.