A number is never just a number: What price, austerity?

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$11.8 billion

Estimated federal government spending cuts by 2014-15, due to the last three austerity budgets. (Source - Numbers in that blog are drawn from the Federal Budget 2013, pg. 298)


Estimated job losses in both the public and private sector by 2014-15, as a result of a succession of federal government austerity budget decisions. (Source)

3.2 per cent

Canada's GDP growth in 2010, when government spending contributed 1.1 per cent of total GDP. Thanks to public spending cuts under austerity, Canada's GDP growth slackened to 2.6 per cent in 2011 and 1.8 per cent in 2012. (Source 1, Source 2: CANSIM 380-0100)


-0.1 per cent

Government's contribution to average annual real GDP growth in Canada in 2012, according to Statistics Canada. It was consumer spending, at 1.3 per cent, which had the biggest impact on GDP growth. (Source: CANSIM 380-0100)

0.84 per cent

Estimated reduction of Canada's real GDP by 2014-15, as a result of the fiscal drag created by austerity budgets at the federal level. (Source -  Numbers in that blog are drawn from the Federal Budget 2013, pg. 298)

1.5 per cent

Predicted GDP growth for Canada in 2013, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). "Finance ministers 'have room' to allow programs such as employment insurance and welfare to work to their full potential, the IMF said." (Source and source)  

1.4 million

Number of unemployed workers in Canada, almost six for every unfilled job in the country. (Source)


Average number of weeks that Canadians who were unemployed remained jobless in 2012, the second worst rate since 1999. (Source)


Percentage of new jobs since the bottom of the recession that have been temporary rather than permanent. (Source)


Number of temporary foreign workers in Canada at the end of 2012. "Canada's temporary work force is almost as large as New Brunswick's entire employed labour force." (Source)


Percentage increase in real average hourly wages for all workers in Canada between 2009 and 2012. That's only a 20-cent increase. In fact median average incomes have fallen, "indicating that any wage growth is limited to the few at the top end." (Source)

$23.1 billion

Amount TD Economics estimates will be lost in wages over the next 18 years as a result of youth unemployment in Canada, which spiked during the recession and remains double the overall unemployment rate. (Source and source)

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative's Trish Hennessy has long been a fan of Harper Magazine's one-page list of eye-popping statistics, Harper's Index. Instead of wishing for a Canadian version to magically appear, she's created her own index -- a monthly listing of numbers about Canada and its place in the world. Hennessy's Index -- A number is never just a number -- comes out at the beginning of each month.

Photo: judepics; Edited: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t

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