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L-P Rochon on Making sense of U.S. and Canadian labour market data

By Louis-Philippe Rochon
If you’re watching labour market statistics on both sides of the U.S. and Canadian border, you might think our economies are heading in very different directions. But a closer look shows that there are striking — and troubling — similarities. The U.S. economy seems to be outperforming expectations, according to labour market data released last week. In February alone, the it added more than 295,000 jobs; the 12th time in a row monthly job creation was at least 200,000. Job creation is widespread across all sectors and demographics, suggesting a firmly-rooted recovery. Unemployment has shrunk to 5.5 per cent, which is where it stood in May 2008. Finally, as the Secretary of Labour, Thomas E. Perez, boasted last week, February marks the first time in more than three decades that unemployment fell in all 50 states. What more could you say? Apparently, the U.S. is on course for a strong growth spurt, fuelling fear of inflation, which may convince the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates sooner than expected. But we mustn’t believe everything the man behind the curtain is saying. 
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