Statistics Canada Left a Little Red Faced

Canada’s statistics agency said it had under-reported the country’s job creation in July by more than 41,000, a revision that one private economist called a “black eye” that raises questions about the bureau’s competence.

Employment rose by 41,700, Statistics Canada said today, three days after it retracted its initial estimate of 200. The unemployment rate wasn’t affected, falling to 7.0 percent from 7.1 percent in June. Staff failed to run a computer program that is part of a scheduled update to the survey, leaving uncounted workers who should have been classified as full-time employees, the Ottawa-based agency said.

“I cannot believe how broadly based the revisions are,” said Derek Holt, Scotiabank’s vice-president of economics in Toronto, by e-mail. “This is a black eye on StatsCan, which is unfortunate as it is otherwise among the elite data agencies anywhere in the world.”


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