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Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

As a former Statistics Canada employee, responsible for the conduct of the Labour Force Survey in Vancouver's West End and the Downtown Eastside, this story in Tuesday's Vancouver Sun comes as no particular surprise.

The widely reported results of the monthly labour force survey of households by Statistics Canada showed 162,100 jobs were created by employers from September through November, a pace of employment growth that, in the face of a strong dollar and weak economy, stunned economists.

However, the results of the agency's survey of employer payrolls, the latest of which is for last November, paint a much different picture, National Bank economists say in a new analysis.

That survey shows only 31,279 jobs were created over that period, an anemic pace of job growth that's more in line with an economy that itself was barely growing. "The difference of 130,821 jobs over three months is without precedent since 2000," the National Bank says.

In B.C., the discrepancy gap was relatively large, at 22,300 jobs.

Although VanRamblings is given to understand that Statistics Canada has, over the past two years, enacted procedures to "tighten up the collection of information", the organization obviously has a long way to go if it is to regain the confidence of Canadians following today's publication of the National Bank's own, more comprehensive research findings.

As for me, I wouldn't trust in the veracity of any set of survey results published by Canada's official information gathering agency.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at February 17, 2004 12:44 PM in News


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