After a 2020 that brought the greatest shocks in generations to our economy and society, 2021 did offer some recovery and bounce-back, along with several new or distressingly familiar jolts, like the highest inflation since millennials were in carseats. More of us are working, but work doesn’t always look the same—or it still involves a laptop on the kitchen table. And with the Omicron variant rearing its terrifying, spiky head, visions of hope for a decidedly better 2022 have gotten much hazier.
For Maclean’s eighth annual chartstravaganza, we’ve once again asked dozens of economists and analysts to ponder the year to come, choose one chart that will help define Canada’s economy in 2022 and beyond, and explain this outlook in their own words.
This year, we’ve decided to release the charts over several days before Christmas, making this more of a Chart Week than a one-day data binge. Today, we release the charts on jobs and income. Coming up are those on inflation, COVID, energy and—yes, don’t worry—real-estate outlooks.
The self-employment blues
Brendan LaCerda, senior economist, Moody’s Analytics
Initially, for the 16 per cent of Canadian workers who are self-employed, the worst of the crisis seemed to be avoided. However, while the rest of the labour market rapidly rebounded, the situation for the self-employed has continued to deteriorate. The breakdown by gender shows that males drove the initial decline, but their number has trended slightly higher since late 2020.
In contrast, female self-employment has seen no recovery and continues to fall, marking a stunning reversal after years of progress in increasing the number of female entrepreneurs. In 2022, we will be keeping a close eye on these small businesses to see if their fortunes reverse. Entrepreneurship drives innovation and productivity growth. Its absence could entail serious long-term harm.
After she-cession, the intergenerational challenges of she-covery
Armine Yalinzyan, Atkinson Fellow on the Future of Workers
Historically recessions have meant more men than women initially lose (usually better-paid) work in an economic downturn and more women find (lower-paid) jobs first in the initial stages of recovery. Hence he-cessions are typically followed by she-coveries. This time everything’s reversed: more women lost jobs initially, and more men got back to work first. The pandemic has also turned the usual intergenerational patterns of recovery upside down.
Normally young people get hit hardest, and come back last. That was true for the job losses, but young women have been leading the parade of the share of the population that has paid work since the summer, while fewer older women have a job than pre-pandemic. This is another inversion of past patterns when …….