15 February 2008

Oops, sorry 'bout that

More manufacturing job cuts to come: TD

A new TD Bank study warns that hundreds of thousands more factory job losses are coming in Central Canada. The report also says manufacturers will have to make painful adjustments to survive, including cuts in wages as well as employment. Although it may be of little comfort to thousands of laid-off factory workers, the study argues that they are merely going through what manufacturing workers in other industrial countries have already suffered. And it will certainly be of no comfort at all to those unemployed workers to hear that those lost jobs -180,000 in Ontario and 140,000 in Quebec since 2002 - won't be coming back. In fact, the TD Bank study estimates that Canada's two most industrialized provinces could lose a further 350,000 manufacturing jobs over the coming half decade - 250,000 in Ontario and 100,000 in Quebec. Further, the report suggests some workers here are going to have to accept deep wage cuts, as workers in US have, to keep their jobs. While the report focuses on Central Canada, where the lion's share of the losses have occurred, report author Derek Burleton, TD's director of economic studies, said in an interview that it "applies to manufacturers right across the country." But don't just blame the strong dollar, the US slowdown or soaring energy costs for the pain, the report concluded. True, those factors have played a role, it conceded. "However, a closer look shows that the bigger story is more global in nature, " it said. Virtually all major industrialized economies have been reducing manufacturing employment as part of the broader objective to compete on productivity, especially in view of China's ascension as a manufacturing dynamo. The difference is for most advanced economies that trend began earlier. For some, such as the US, Britain and France, it began as early as the 1970s, the TD report said. Canadian manufacturers, however, were insulated by the ultra-low value of the Canadian dollar, it said. Now that the loonie is now trading close to parity, that protection has evaporated, thus exposing producers in Canada to those difficult adjustments.
(New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal 080214)

Poor auto industry workers. For North Americans, globalization was a way to speed up our obsolescence as a manufacturing power. The rich old men and corporations did it to us good this time.

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