Ontario's labour market performance ranked 21st in North America, lags behind western provinces



    VANCOUVER, Aug. 31 /CNW/ - Ontario ranks 21st overall in an analysis of
the labour market performance of 10 Canadian provinces and 50 U.S. states,
according to a new study released by independent research organization The
Fraser Institute.
    "The labour markets in BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan are clearly
outperforming Ontario and the province's ranking shows how far it has fallen
behind the west," said Niels Veldhuis, co-author of the study and Director of
Fiscal Studies at The Fraser Institute.
    "Of particular concern is Ontario's relatively low rate of private sector
job growth and relatively high unemployment."
    "By comparison, labour markets in BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan,
outperform Ontario."
    Alberta had the best performance in North America, ranking first overall
in North America. Saskatchewan was the second-best performing province,
finishing 10th among the 60 jurisdictions. B.C. was the third best province at
12th overall while Manitoba ranked fourth in Canada and 20th overall.
    Measuring Labour Markets in Canada and the United States: 2007 Edition,
assesses the performance of labour markets and examines characteristics which
impact performance. The study includes an overall measure of labour market
performance that includes employment growth, unemployment rates, duration of
unemployment and labour productivity over the years 2002-2006. The complete
study and rankings are available at www.fraserinstitute.ca
    "Workers in Western Canada are enjoying the benefits of a healthy labour
market, an indication of their strong economies," Veldhuis said.
    Western U.S. states dominated the top-10 positions with six states
(Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Alaska, Idaho, and Wyoming) in the top ten.
    Canada's Atlantic provinces all ranked in the bottom half on labour
market performance. High average unemployment rates are of particular concern
in Atlantic Canada.
    "Atlantic provinces continue to experience the highest unemployment rates
in North America," Veldhuis said.
    "Newfoundland's average unemployment rate was a staggering 15.8 per cent,
more than double the Canadian average and three times that of Alberta over the
five-year period."
    The study also examines four aspects of labour markets that directly
affect labour market performance: unionization, public sector employment,
minimum wages, and labour relations laws.
    The divide between Canada and the United States is quite evident in
unionization. From 2002-2006, Canada's average unionization rate was 32 per
cent compared with 13.9 per cent for the United States.
    "Higher unionization rates have been shown to reduce employment and
investment growth, and worker productivity," Veldhuis points out.
    One reason for the divergence in unionization rates is Canada's
relatively pro-union labour relation laws. Evidence shows that labour
relations laws biasing one group at the expense of another, or which are
overly prescriptive, reduce labour market performance.
    Veldhuis also noted that Canadian provinces fare poorly on levels of
public sector employment, which has been demonstrated to lead to poorer
economic performance and lower levels of productivity.
    "The ultimate goal of a well-functioning labour market is higher wages
for workers, more employment opportunities, lower unemployment and higher
levels of productivity," Veldhuis said.

    The Fraser Institute is an independent research and educational
organization based in Canada. Its mission is to measure, study, and
communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on
the welfare of individuals. To protect the Institute's independence, it does
not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit
www.fraserinstitute.ca





For further information:

For further information: Niels Veldhuis, Director of Fiscal Studies, The
Fraser Institute, Tel. (604) 714-4546, Email: nielsv@fraserinstitute.ca; Dean
Pelkey, Director of Communications, The Fraser Institute, Tel: (604) 714-4582,
Email deanp@fraserinstitute.ca

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THE FRASER INSTITUTE

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