The Jobless Recovery

Since their recent lows, both the Vancouver housing market and global equity markets have had a surprising rise.  This despite fewer and fewer people actually drawing a paycheque.  The unemployment rate in the US recently surpassed 10%, and is much higher if you count the people that have given up looking for work or run out of unemployment benefits.

In Canada it’s a similar story with a bit of a lag.  In October alone Canada ‘unexpectedly’ lost 43,200 jobs and today saw news of EA cutting 1,500 jobs with a ‘significant’ number of them from their Burnaby campus.  Other cuts were announced by Kodak which is shifting development work from Victoria and Burnaby to Israel.  The latest round of cuts leaves them with roughly 500 employees in BC, down from 1,265 in July 2008.

According to CIBC the quality of jobs left not just in BC, but all across Canada has taken a nosedive in the last 6 months.

There was a time when Vancouver fancied itself a bit of a high-tech economy, with a number of video game studios providing good paying jobs locally.  The recent round of cuts takes some of the shine off that image.  Are there growth industries left in Vancouver that will offer decent incomes to support our high cost of housing?

98 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
jesse
10 years ago

@Vic:

They had to put up job ads and brought in government IT workers to fill the position.

Yeah because they want to pay below market rates to save money. Below market rates for temporary position no less, not a permanent full-time position. Good luck filling those positions with quality applicants.

Music Dude
Music Dude
10 years ago

"The real reason for high prices isn’t rich foreigners or even record low interest rates. It’s the locals who buy at the high prices. Nobody, especially the developers, is holding a gun to their heads and there are thousands of places available for rent every month if they don’t want to buy." Local buyers are in the game partly because of propaganda perpetuated by 'the developers'. True, no one is holding a gun to their heads, but the 'fear of loss' pitch is scaring people into never being able to buy if they don't do it now. Scullboy, good luck back east! I grew up in Ottawa and have also lived for 2 years in Toronto, and 2 years in Montreal. There's nothing bad whatsoever about living back there IMO. It's a totally different lifestyle than Vancouver, that's all. The… Read more »

No Longer Looking
No Longer Looking
10 years ago

@Vic: "But what’s funny…is that with all these layoffs and high tech workers being idle in Vancouver….and we have a shortage of high tech volunteers for 2010 Olympics. They had to put up job ads and brought in government IT workers to fill the position. Strange…"

Why would anybody work for free while others are making big bucks off the Olympics? Nobody wants to be a sucker (not intentionally).

Vic
Vic
10 years ago

I work in the hi-tech industry and its been downhill for our industry since 2000. I am sure you all know about the 2000 tech bubble and we haven’t really recovered since. A lot of tech companies like Kodak, EA, SAP (aka Business Obj aka Crystal Decisions), Glenayre, PMC-Sierra have been downsizing and ofshoring for years. We have big tech parks that sit empty for years — because nobody is really expanding and there are very few sustainable and quality startups. The big US companies aren’t buying startups like they used to. Back in 2000, if you had a business with the word .com…you would be rich instantly. Today…its not quite the same. But what’s funny…is that with all these layoffs and high tech workers being idle in Vancouver….and we have a shortage of high tech volunteers for 2010 Olympics.… Read more »

Ultraman
Ultraman
10 years ago

#93 was from me.

Ultraman

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

#83 krazy kanuck said

"Having said this, I disagree with you about the steep price. If you are willing to rent…"

Totally agree with you as many have demonstrated on this blog before, renting is the way to go. This is why I sold my condo. Moving this weekend in a brand new apart at the Woodward's. About $700-$800 cheaper than owning, worry free, cash in the bank and like I said 1 month notice away from moving. I find the transition to renters to be very liberating. This consumable desire to buy that so many people are obsessed with is making them slaves.

stagnate
stagnate
10 years ago

chumpdawg, there is nothing special about vancouver at all. the demand for sfh's is a mammoth multiple above the land available for sfh's. the notion that developers have something to do with it is bogus. all they can do is build condos: and look at the new condo guide this month- they're back to building condos like there's no tomorrow.

jesse
10 years ago

@chumpdawg: "The profits produced for a small group are incredible-and so the will to protect those profits is powerful." I don't agree with you that the tail is wagging the dog. There is no scarcity of housing in Vancouver and yet there is a plenitude of people — under no duress — willing to take out significant levels of debt to be owners. The developers would have no power if there were no buyers. Just witness last year when sales fell through the floor and projects were canceled left right and centre. The real reason for high prices isn't rich foreigners or even record low interest rates. It's the locals who buy at the high prices. Nobody, especially the developers, is holding a gun to their heads and there are thousands of places available for rent every month if they… Read more »

nonymouse
nonymouse
10 years ago

@chumpdawg:

Chumpdog if you look at the history of Vancouver it is one of speculation.

“You or your agent hold on to it till property rises, then sell out and buy more land further out of town and repeat the process. I do not quite see how this sort of thing helps the growth of a town, but the English Boy says that it is the 'essence of speculation,' so it must be all right."

Rudyard Kipling writing about his investment about 100 years ago.

Vancouver "is suffering in a special degree from haphazard growth and speculation in real estate, notwithstanding the progress that has taken place in the last few years in regard to the control of sanitary matters and local improvements."

Thomas Adams urban planner in 1915.

asalvari1
asalvari1
10 years ago

@scullboy:

Good luck and wish you success. I will definitely miss your rants – one of the kind. In a way, I envy you – you are getting out of the madness and going back to the real world.

chumpdawg
chumpdawg
10 years ago

I am working on an article right about RE in Vancouver. It's working title is "Why a Real Estate Crash Will Be the Best Thing to Happen to Vancouver". It's really a reversal of that title which explains why all the complaints people lay on Vancouver can be traced back to the high cost of RE (whether it be renting or owning) It will likely never be published in Vancouver, but if it does I may be found floating in the Burrard Inlet. There is an investigative aspect to it. I intend to expose the small group of developers who have a stranglehold on the city which in turn creates an artificial sense of scarcity- thereby increasing the cost of RE and sucking dollars from just about everything else into Think of all the complaints people make about Vancouver and… Read more »

No Longer Looking
No Longer Looking
10 years ago

@scullboy: "Most of the people laid off from eBay are still living on their severance (I know a few personally). They are calm now, mainly because they don’t realize what’s coming."

Hey, I resemble that comment 😛

For us eBayers, we are now moving from severance to EI, so we'll have to at least go through the motions of looking for work. Time to stop the video games…or at least less of it 🙂 Its so much easier to achieve that way these days.

Dave
10 years ago

I agree with you about recruiters. I get calls from them often and about 99% are out of Toronto and know nothing about BC or the markets they are recruiting in.

The time to find a job depends on your industry and your skills. Support staff have less to offer a company than somebody who can bring in the bacon. There will always be a demand for the latter.

If job security is a big issue for people, then you should either work for the government or be invaluable. If your job is supportive, then it is more vulnerable.

scullboy
10 years ago

Betamax: Thanks for the good wishes. I started on one side of the country and moved to the other. The things that surprised me most about Vancouver was how few Vancouverites had been east of the Rockies. None of them have a clue about the charms of any other city in Canada. I suppose that's why they parrot the whole "best place on earth" thing so mindlessly. I made the same calculation as Firmaa. I spend a lot of money and worked hard in the last few years in order to attain a number of certifications. I even switched careers for a while. No matter what I tried I couldn't find decent work in Vancouver. I'm not the only one. A number of friends from culinary school did the same thing. I eventually came to the same conclusion as Firmaa:… Read more »

california
california
10 years ago

, good on ya. not sure why you think it's a knock on me that you're going away, but whatever floats your boat. I'm sure that you'll save in many ways, including on time that you would've normally have spent on this site. Time is money, after all.

krazy kanuk
krazy kanuk
10 years ago

@Ultraman: I hear what you are saying about Vancouver possibly being the best place on earth. I do some running as well, and it's great. Also, the downtown doesn't shut down at 5 pm like my hometown of Calgary. I've been here for a year on a temporary basis. Having said this, I disagree with you about the steep price. If you are willing to rent, I find prices here cheaper than Calgary. For example, I'm in a decent (not upscale at all) apartment right downtown. I don't know exactly how much it costs (my company leases it), but I have a friend there with a 1 bed + den in the same building for $1200 a month. That's about the same as Calgary. Restaraunts here are cheaper, and I don't even have a car (no need here….Calgary, almost a… Read more »

betamax
betamax
10 years ago

Scullboy – congrats on the job. Halifax is a beautiful city, I visited there a few years ago and was surprised how much I liked it.

Logic – this blog will only be dead after the crash, when there's nothing to argue about. Bull trolls serve their purpose as contrary indicators, as evidenced by the illogic of their arguments. People like Franco above who confuse market expectations with general optimism merely remind us of why it's a bubble doomed to burst no matter how long it has lasted so far.

Firmaa
Firmaa
10 years ago

I understand reasoning behind chesterlampwick comments regarding the justification for continuous living in Vancouver. It all comes down to priorities in life and the ability to articulate these priorities. So beginning of this year I have decided that my professional life in Vancouver did not lead to anywhere and I moved to Regina. Yes, Regina. M life priorities changed. On my new list of priorities night skiing at Cyprus in the winter and relaxing on Crescent Beach in the summer are not there. New priorities are emerged such as: making sure that I have enough income to feed my family and enough saved for retirement. I come to conclusion that I CAN NOT achieve these priorities in Vancouver no matter how hard I work. On the other hand I am not convinced with chesterlampwick rosy picture regarding IT employment. Main… Read more »

BoB
BoB
10 years ago

Layoffs in the BC Bud sector? Might be… http://www.budbuddy.biz

Franco
Franco
10 years ago

You are dead wrong without logic. indeed, this have been enlightened by new comers who contribute honest,truthful,positive,energetic,optimistic,and logic input to dispel misinformation by those infamous minority who perpetrated gloomy outlook of BC and its RE market;however, time and time again the outcome prove otherwise,since 2002.

But shamelessly they keep cranking lies to depress the market.

Fortunately, God bless this Heavenly City daily and its RE which has already gone up for 6% since Feb 09.

logic
logic
10 years ago

the blog is pretty much dead

infested with trolls

bye

Franco
Franco
10 years ago

It's nice to see many Vancouver Bulls are joining superboy to fight off those idiotic bears.

Partisan Spectator
Partisan Spectator
10 years ago

@SD92129:

No public announcement of layoffs in BCBud industry? Hmm…

The media has been kinda busy recently with such "announcements". Bodies here and bodies there. They probably should come up with some sort of "politically correct" headlines: e.g. "Five layoffs from BCBud discovered at gas station: heated conversation in charge."

browntown
browntown
10 years ago

oh yeah nutslaps! Mr. job market say reports of my death are grately exagerated! remembers, lots of jobs of vantastic

"i'm lovin it"

scullboy
10 years ago

*ahem*

WOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOO!

I got the job offer in Halifax. It's more money then I made here, PLUS 4 week's vacation. I'm leaving in 10 days

You know what the best thing about Halifax is?

It's about as far away from F**KING China as you can get, therefore NOBODY claims realestate is going up because of wealthy Chinese.

Well, that and NOBODY uses the phrase "best place on earth". After 3 years I'm more then ready to trade cold winters for that.

So…. Franco, California and most of all Supraboy, you guys can SUCK ON MY BIG OL' MARITIME D**K!

It's bigger and tastier then anything you'll find in Richmond, I promise.