Job outlook grim

The Conference Board of Canada laid out a grim outlook for employment for this year and next on Monday, saying the Canadian economy fell “off a cliff” in the first three months of this year.

CALGARY — The Conference Board of Canada laid out a grim outlook for employment for this year and next on Monday, saying the Canadian economy fell “off a cliff” in the first three months of this year.

Pedro Antunes, the board’s director of national and provincial forecasts, told a conference Monday that unemployment will steadily rise this year and peak at 9.5 per cent in the middle of 2010.

“We’ve seen some pretty dire monthly numbers already,” Antunes told reporters. “We see employment losses continuing through the end of the year, but not as sharp a decline as we’ll have in the first quarter.”

The think-tank estimates Canada’s economy shrank at a seven per cent annual pace in the first quarter, Antunes said.

“It’s not really a difficult guess to make because if you look at the monthly indicators, if you follow monthly (gross domestic product) by industry, it’s kind of fallen off a cliff in the latest months,” he said. “It’s very scary.”

Conference Board chief economist Glen Hodgson said in an interview that Canada has likely just emerged from the worst quarter in 35 or 40 years.

“Seven per cent annualized in Q1 is really painful and that reflects the contraction of exports and the pullback in investment that’s due to the U.S. financial crisis.”

But, the pace of the slowdown will ease later in the year, resulting in a 1.7 per cent contraction for the year as a whole, Antunes said. That’s far worse than the Conference Board’s previous estimate of half a percentage point decline for 2009.

“It was really around commodity prices and the impact that’s having on real incomes in our economy. We saw the price of everything fall,” Hodgson said.

Just Posted

Open house on proposed addictions treatment centre to be held at former Red Deer nightclub

Community is invited to learn more about the $2-million project on May 2

Red Deer teen raises money for victims in Sri Lanka after Easter bombings

A Red Deer teen is raising money to help Sri Lankan victims… Continue reading

Red Deer looks to be creative to attract business downtown

Co-op to close downtown store after 56 years

Central Alberta artist wins $25,000 for his hectare-sized caricature

Dean Foster says he’s thrilled to win the radio station contest

Family: A potpourri of Easter egg hunts, music and politics

The election is a thing of the past. Albertans have spoken. They… Continue reading

Sri Lankan-Canadians mourn victims of terrorist attack in their homeland

Sri Lankan-Canadians were gathering Monday to mourn those killed in a massive… Continue reading

Residents along Saint John River told to remain on alert as floodwaters rise

FREDERICTON — People who live along New Brunswick’s Saint John River are… Continue reading

Prince Edward Island voters to cast verdict on new electoral system

CHARLOTTETOWN — Canadians are expected to learn late Tuesday whether the cradle… Continue reading

Early, photogenic iceberg raises expectations for Newfoundland’s season

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — This historic port city welcomed an unexpected early… Continue reading

Captain Ghislaine Landry leads Canada to victory at Kitakyushu Sevens

KITAKYUSHU, Japan — Captain Ghislaine Landry scored with no time remaining and… Continue reading

Marchand scores twice as Bruins force a seventh game with 4-2 win over Leafs

TORONTO — After a flying start in front of a raucous home… Continue reading

Harry and Meghan’s royal baby: Questions asked and answered

LONDON — The time is drawing near for the impending birth of… Continue reading

Most Read