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A Comparison of Canadian and U.S. Labour Market Performance, 1989-2000

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  • Andrew Sharpe

    ()

Abstract

The gap between Canadian and U.S. living standards widened considerably in the 1990s. Americans, on average, were 16 per cent better off in terms of real personal income per capita in 2000 than in 1989, while Canadians experienced a 5 percent increase in real incomes. The thesis of this paper is that this divergence to a large degree, particularly in the first half of the 1990s, has its roots in part in the different labour market and productivity performance of the two economies and that Canada's inferior income performance reflected cyclical factors associated with poor macroeconomic policy management rather than structural factors. The paper is divided into three main parts. The first section examines general economic and labour market developments in Canada and the United States in the 1989-2000 period, looking at trends in real income, population, labour force, employment, unemployment, output and productivity. The second section looks at the common trends in the two labour markets, including the concentration of employment growth in services and in managerial and professional occupations; growing wage inequality; and the downward trend in the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment. The third section examines divergent trends in the two labour markets, including the widening of the unemployment rate gap; the emergence of a participation rate gap; and greater self-employment and part-time employment growth in Canada.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Sharpe, 2001. "A Comparison of Canadian and U.S. Labour Market Performance, 1989-2000," CSLS Research Reports 01lm, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
  • Handle: RePEc:sls:resrep:01lm
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    File URL: http://www.csls.ca/reports/sharpe.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert J. Gordon, 1997. "The Time-Varying NAIRU and Its Implications for Economic Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 11-32, Winter.
    2. Robert J. Gordon, 1998. "Foundations of the Goldilocks Economy: Supply Shocks and the Time-Varying NAIRU," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 297-346.
    3. Pierre Fortin, 1996. "The Great Canadian Slump," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(4), pages 761-787, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Canada; United States; Income; Income Growth; Productivity; Productivity Growth; Labour Force Participation; Labor Force Participation; Labor; Employment; Unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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