Rising inflation is a growing worry for Canadians and businesses even as the rate is trending downwards, with labour shortages easing off across the country as 22 per cent fewer managers report they are having trouble finding workers.
RBC Economics’ latest guidance report, Canadian Inflation Likely Ticked Up In December But Easing Trend To Continue, reveals that 41 per cent of Canadian firms were reporting labour shortages during the first quarter of 2021, the peak of the labour market challenges.
At that time, the intensity of the labour shortages was rated at 74.
Since then, that pressure on Canadian firms has eased considerably, with only 32 per cent of them reporting labour shortages by the third quarter of last year and the intensity of those labour shortages ranked at -46.
The big unknown for Canadians and Canadian businesses going forward is what will happen with inflation.
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RBC Economics’ assistant chief economist Nathan Janzen and economist Carrie Freestone are expecting the Consumer Price Index report to tick up slightly, to 3.4 per cent growth year-over-year, for December from 3.1 per cent in November – but only because a big drop in gas prices will by then have worked itself out of the year-over-year calculations.
“Food price growth likely slowed again and broader measures of inflation pressures have eased in recent months with the bulk of remaining upward price growth coming from surging mortgage interest costs due to higher interest rates,” note Janzen and Freestone.
“Still, the breadth and magnitude of inflation have continued to edge lower on balance. Growth in mortgage interest costs is accounting for roughly a third of total price growth excluding food and energy products.”
Canadian retail sales in November were flat after a 0.7 per cent uptick in October but Statistics Canada estimates manufacturing sales for that month were up 1.2 per cent on higher chemical, transportation equipment, and primary metal sales.
As Canadian builders gear up to create more housing, the development industry is seeing growth in Canada.
Housing Starts Edging Up But Below Average Level Of Permit Assurance
“Housing starts are expected to come in slightly stronger in December at 250,000 relative to November’s 213,000, but still below the three-month rolling average level of permit issuance at 268,000,” note the RBC economists.
Canadian employers hoping to attract workers through economic immigration can recruit them through the TFWP and the International Mobility Program (IMP).
The Global Talent Stream (GTS), a part of the TFWP, can under normal processing situations lead to the granting of Canadian work permits and processing of visa applications within two weeks.
Employers can also bring in foreign nationals to fill available positions through the Express Entry system, which receives immigration applications online.
It powers the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FST), and Canada Experience Class Program (CEC) which all draw from the Express Entry pool of candidates. Those with the required Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores are then sent Invitations to Apply (ITAs) in regular draws.