Canadian Job Security Affected by Layoffs in Energy and Retail

A string of mass firings in the energy and retail industries is taking a toll on Canadians’ job security, recent polling suggests.

The share of Canadians who say their employment isn’t fully secure rose last week to 15 percent, the highest since June 2013, according to a weekly survey by Nanos Research Group. The share who say their jobs are at least somewhat secure has declined to 68.9 percent, the lowest since early January.

High-profile companies have recently announced closings and Canada’s unemployment rate is at a five-month high as the country copes with the plunge in oil prices and consolidation in the retail industry. Best Buy Canada, a unit of Best Buy Co., said March 28 it will close 66 of its Future Shop electronics stores, while firing 1,500 full- and part-time workers. That comes months after Target Corp. said it would close its Canadian operations.

In the oil industry, companies from Suncor Energy Inc. to Strad Energy Services Ltd. have cut thousands of jobs. The Alberta government predicts 31,800 oil-related workers will lose their jobs this year.

The difference between those who say their jobs are secure and those who say they are insecure has narrowed to 53.9 percentages points, the lowest since August.

Every week, Nanos Research asks Canadians for their views on personal finances, job security, the outlook for the economy and where real estate prices are headed. This is what the survey data, which is compiled for Bloomberg News, captured for the week through April 3:

*The Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index fell for the first time in five weeks, declining to 55, from 55.6 a week before, amid weakening job security. It had been rising on optimism the outlook for the economy and real estate prices was improving.

*Worries about economic growth continued to wane, even as job insecurity increased, the polling showed. The share of Canadians who predict the economy will strengthen over the next six months rose to 17.7 percent last week, from 16.6 percent a week earlier. The number predicting a weaker economy was little changed at 35.1 percent.

*A four-week run of improving real estate optimism also ended last week. The share of respondents predicting declining home prices rose to 17.7 percent, from 16.2 percent a week before, while those predicting price increases was little changed at 35.6 percent.

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