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The Performance of the 1990s Canadian Labour Market


  • Garnett Picot
  • Andrew Heisz


There is a general sense that the 1990s labour market was unique. It has been characterized by notions such as "downsizing," "technological revolution," "the knowledge-based economy," "rising job instability," and so on. This paper provides an extensive overview of the performance of the 1990s labour market, and asks just how different it was from the 1980s. It goes on to ask if the facts are consistent with many common beliefs and explanations. Macro-level topics include: 1.Has the nature of work changed dramatically in the 1990s? 2.Has there been a continued ratcheting up of unemployment? 3.Have we witnessed rising job instability and increased levels of layoffs? 4.Did company downsizing increase in the 1990s? 5.Why did per capita income growth stall in the 1990s? 6.For a worker with a given level of human capital, has there been a deterioration in labour market outcomes? The paper concludes with a discussion of the overall performance of the 1990s labour market as compared to the 1980s.

Suggested Citation

  • Garnett Picot & Andrew Heisz, 2000. "The Performance of the 1990s Canadian Labour Market," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 26(s1), pages 7-25, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:26:y:2000:i:s1:p:7-25

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lin, Zhengxi & Picot, Garnett & Yates, Janice, 1999. "Rising Self-employment in the Midst of High Unemployment: An Empirical Analysis of Recent Developments in Canada," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1999133e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    2. Schuetze, Herb J., 2000. "Taxes, economic conditions and recent trends in male self-employment: a Canada-US comparison," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 507-544, September.
    3. Corak, Miles & Heisz, Andrew, 1996. "Alternative Measures of the Average Duration of Unemployment," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 42(1), pages 63-74, March.
    4. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, January.
    5. Blanchflower, David G & Oswald, Andrew J, 1998. "What Makes an Entrepreneur?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 26-60, January.
    6. Granet Picot & Zhengxi Lin & Wendy Pyper, 1998. "Permanent Layoffs in Canada: Overview and Longitudinal Analysis," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(5), pages 1154-1178, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hou, Feng & Picot, Garnett, 2003. "The Rise in Low-income Rates Among Immigrants in Canada," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2003198e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    2. Lukas Matejovsky & Sandeep Mohapatra & Bodo Steiner, 2014. "The Dynamic Effects of Entrepreneurship on Regional Economic Growth: Evidence from Canada," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(4), pages 611-639, December.

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