Unemployment Creeps Up for November

Stats Canada came out with their Labour Force Survey on Friday, and had a lump of coal for the festive season with a reported increase in Unemployment from 6.5% to 6.6% (in November (in Canada)).

The year over year employment story is much better (but don’t ever mistake employment news and unemployment news, as they are measured quite differently).

Compared with November 2013, employment increased by 146,000 (+0.8%), with part-time and full-time work up 1.9% and 0.6% respectively. Over the same period, the total number of hours worked was little changed (+0.1%).

Don’t let that rosy sounding news fool you though, there are more folks unemployed, and in the following graph you can see the employment “dip” (as it were).

Employment For the Past 5 Years

For older folk such as myself the employment picture is less happy, with less jobs for men aged 55 and over, as well less jobs overall in Retail and Scientific and Technical services (all in all not good news for old geeks like me).

The unemployment saw tooth graph continues on with many ups and downs (but an overall downward trend).

Unemployment in Canada Past 5 Years

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment For Past 5 Years

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate while a little higher is still much better than it was last year at this time. In Ontario overall there were 34,000 less jobs last month.

Employment by Class of Worker

As usual I include one of the larger data tables, for your perusal and enjoyment.

Employment by class of worker and industry (based on NAICS1) – Seasonally adjusted

Oct to Nov
Nov 2013
to Nov 2014
Oct to
thousands change in thousands % change
Class of worker


15,243.2 15,220.2 35.7 -23.0 107.0 -0.2 0.7


2,725.4 2,737.7 25.5 12.3 39.1 0.5 1.4
Public/private sector employees


3,628.2 3,650.8 25.0 22.6 45.2 0.6 1.3


11,615.0 11,569.4 37.9 -45.6 61.8 -0.4 0.5
All industries 17,968.6 17,957.9 28.9 -10.7 146.0 -0.1 0.8
Goods-producing sector 3,915.5 3,932.8 26.3 17.3 30.8 0.4 0.8
Agriculture 297.1 305.1 7.5 8.0 -2.7 2.7 -0.9
Natural resources3 357.7 372.5 7.4 14.8 -10.5 4.1 -2.7
Utilities 152.1 152.6 5.4 0.5 -2.8 0.3 -1.8
Construction 1,355.8 1,350.5 17.7 -5.3 37.3 -0.4 2.8
Manufacturing 1,752.7 1,752.3 19.6 -0.4 9.7 0.0 0.6
Services-producing sector 14,053.1 14,025.1 34.4 -28.0 115.3 -0.2 0.8
Trade 2,738.9 2,697.3 24.5 -41.6 -2.5 -1.5 -0.1
Transportation and warehousing 886.7 872.4 14.2 -14.3 0.8 -1.6 0.1
Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing 1,144.3 1,155.6 16.8 11.3 23.0 1.0 2.0
Professional, scientific and technical services 1,380.1 1,347.2 18.6 -32.9 -11.7 -2.4 -0.9
Business, building and other support services 704.3 713.4 14.4 9.1 -14.5 1.3 -2.0
Educational services 1,308.6 1,314.5 16.2 5.9 18.7 0.5 1.4
Health care and social assistance 2,236.9 2,248.4 19.5 11.5 63.2 0.5 2.9
Information, culture and recreation 776.7 780.1 14.8 3.4 -21.6 0.4 -2.7
Accommodation and food services 1,190.4 1,203.5 17.2 13.1 58.3 1.1 5.1
Other services 749.6 754.7 13.8 5.1 -17.7 0.7 -2.3
Public administration 936.7 937.9 13.0 1.2 19.2 0.1 2.1
  1. North American Industry Classification System.
  2. Average standard error for change in two consecutive months. See “Sampling variability of estimates” in the section “About the Labour Force Survey” at the end of the publication Labour Force Information(Catalogue number71-001-X) for further explanations.
  3. Also referred to as forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas.


The sum of individual categories may not always add up to the total as a result of rounding.


CANSIM tables 282-0088 and 282-0089.


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A true gentleman passed away this week, and I was saddened with the passing of Jean Beliveau. To me he was the epitome of a leader, and his demeanor on and off the ice was to be admired. My favorite Jean Beliveau story was when as a young lad, telling my Dad I’d play better hockey if I had a stick with a curved blade, and my Father’s response summed  it all up nicely, “If Jean Beliveau can play with a straight blade, you can too”. Let’s hope Mr. Beliveau’s blade continues to be straight, wherever he is.

Two Dudes

My Son and the Lt-General

I was privileged to be invited along with my son to National Defense HQ for an International Day of Persons with Disabilities festival. My son’s soccer Club the Just for Kicks group with the Nepean City Soccer Club, was invited to show off their skills and play against some very high-powered talent. The Generals involved were very good sports and I also met the head of Soldier On a support organization for wounded soldiers.

The malls are now crammed with folks trying to find the next “perfect” toy, but remember the reason you are out there. I will no doubt be in the middle of the bloody fray this weekend, so stay the heck out of my way, if you don’t want to see what I learned playing rugby.

Oh and congrats to Wales for defeating the Mighty South Africa Springboks last weekend (for only the second time in 100 years).

My Writings for Week Ending December 5th

Christmas lights twinkle and even I have got out the inflatable Christmas Penguin for the front of the Big C8j Hacienda :


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5 Ways to Optimally Use Your Pay Raise

In the New Year many folks will be getting pay raises and as a service to you folks here is a short list of some wonderful ways to optimally use your new pay raise.

You do know my great love for lists, so I hope you appreciate this as much as I did compiling it.

Vince Lombardi.png

Like the Coach said, no reason to go nuts with your raise
Vince Lombardi” by http://legendsrevealed.com/sports/2009/07/20/football-legends-revealed-3/. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

  1. Forget that you got a pay raise, use your current budget and use the extra money to pay down debt. Did you need this extra money to live on? I doubt it, so why not get yourself out of debt? Avoid Lifestyle Creep and live within your means.
  2. If you have automatic payments to your Mortgage and/or RRSP ( or TFSA ), increase them to reflect the amount of your raise (if you got a 4% raise, then up your payments by that amount as well). This way you are at least getting ahead more. The same should be done if you have young kids and you are putting money away in an RESP for them, more money NOW, means less pain later.
  3. If you haven’t started saving for the future, now is the time, and now you have extra money to do it with (unless of course you still have debt, if so go back to step 1). Get that RRSP going or a TFSA and your future self will thank you profusely.
  4. If you must “celebrate” keep it low-key. Vince Lombardi told his players, “When you get into the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.“, same thing with your pay raise, no reason to go bananas and blow your money, you deserved it, you worked hard, now keep it!
  5. If you feel you must go out and spend, make it on something that will help you be a better you , like a course to help your career, or even a gym membership to help stay in shape. It’s great to have all this money, but if you are sick or unhealthy it isn’t going to mean much. The educational aspect of this is the right way to go. Help expand your horizons by expanding your mind.
  6. Here is an extra one (for no extra charge) for those who aren’t really driven by money, but more by quality of life questions: if you are making 4% more (or 8 days more pay )how much less can you now work and make the same money (I mean days, not effort on the job)? If your firm allows you to take unpaid leave, have you got yourself a few more days off that you can take? It’s trite but nobody says in retirement, “I wish I was at the office more days”.

Dell Canada Inc
I am sure I have missed many other great ideas, but remember hopefully this is the first of many pay raises, so don’t go berserk spending or celebrating, act like it will happen again (soon).


It’s A Wonderful Life (Financially?)

When the holiday standard It’s A Wonderful Life was first released it was pretty much panned as being too treakly sweet, and having no substance. The movie languished for many years, but thanks to a disinterest by its distributor, it started being played by local TV stations at Christmas time, and thanks to that it is now the Holiday Standard that it is today.


If you wish to purchase this classic from Amazon Click Here

Now the main reason the movie became popular was due to its distributor not charging TV stations to air it, and thus the Local TV had free content to play during Christmas (and thus they made good coin off it with their own advertisements). The rest is history (right Uncle Willy?). There is a great deal to learn about banking in the USA in this movie if you look closely, but that is not the point of this piece. My favorite quote is from Nick talking to

“Hey look, mister. We serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast, and we don’t need any characters around to give the joint “atmosphere”. Is that clear, or do I have to slip you my left for a convincer?”

What does this have to do with Personal Finance and Investing? Indulge me this one is another one of my “Hail Mary” stretches of thematic premise.

Strangely Index Funds have been around for many decades (in one form or another), but it is only in the past 10 years or so (maybe less) that they have suddenly come into vogue.

If you are to believe the media Index Funds started with John Bogle and the Vanguard Group, in fact:

Bogle started the First Index Investment Trust on December 31, 1975

So almost 40 years ago Index Fund investing began. The beginnings were inauspicious, but as with “It’s a Wonderful Life” after many “experts” scoffing at the idea, Index Fund investing (or Couch Potato Investing, or one of its many other names) is mainstream and beloved by investors all over the world (OK, now I am pouring it on a bit thick).


Black Friday is Here, Advent, and #BestThisWeek

The month of November is effectively Black November, but today is allegedly the beginning of the Christmas rush with Black Friday. The folklore behind it being called Black Friday is that this day is when Retailers actually get into the Black (in their accounting books), and from now on is profits. My e-mail inbox has been inundated with great Black November sales and such, some almost too good to believe. Who would believe I could buy a TurDuckEn 🍗 at Costco for $95?!?
Black Friday
Will all this spending help everyone get that much more festive about Christmas and such? I really have no idea, but Advent begins on Sunday for those wondering what the Christian Church view is on the topic.

There is talk again of the Tampa Bay Rays moving, for now to St. Pete’s (across the bay) but there is also an undertone of Montreal getting in the mix as well. Thanks to Jeffrey Loria (one of the most hated owners in sports) Montreal lost it’s team in the 90’s, but a returning team that was in the same division as Toronto and had the hope of a new downtown stadium? That brings old Expo lovers like me, hope. I grew up within walking distance of Jarry Park ⚾  , and would go to games if they came back.

There seems to be a bit of a backlash in the US about stores opening on Thanksgiving Day, for the Black Friday sales, and I support that backlash. The next logical step is opening on Christmas Day for Boxing Day sales. We live in a Consumer Society, but we do not need to consume that much!


My Writings for Week Ending November 28th

The snow all went away this week, but we are left with the cold weather and we can now see all the “early deployment” Christmas Lights as well:

  • Inflation Stays High Despite Lower Gas in October is another example of how numbers don’t necessarily mean what you think they do. I still think the collective lifestyle of Canadians is slipping due to price increases, but you wouldn’t think it looking at the reports.
  • I tried a small poke at the mainstream media with the TFSA Retirement Welfare Bums, but no one seemed to get too indignant about my analysis.
  • RRSP to TFSA Grand Jeté is really just a rehash of many other articles about what to do with your RRSP refunds, although Mark from My Own Advisor pointed out the model does loan the government money, which is something I never like doing.
  • I had some spare time on the weekend so I came up with Financial Tweets of the Week, just to expose you to some other good financial stuff.


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