Project Link

Piecing together recent Canadian economic history

All the Project Link data are now in one Excel file, with definitions and sources. The working files used to calculate these numbers are available to anyone who asks.

Monthly data

Coincident indicators:

Variable

Start date

Vector

GDP

January 1961

v65201210

Employment (LFS)

January 1946

v2062811

Unemployment rate

January 1946

v2062815

Employment (SEPH)

January 1946

v79310773

Weekly earnings (SEPH)

January 1946

v54026327

Consumer Price Index

January 1946

v41690914

Manufacturing sales

January 1956

v123263908

Exports

January 1968

v1001783953

Imports

January 1968

v1001783939

Retail trade

January 1972

v115117063

 

 

Labour Force Survey, start date November 1945:

15 and over

Both sexes

Men

Women

Labour Force

v2062810

v2062819

v2062828

Employment

v2062811

v2062820

v2062829

Employment rates

v2062817

v2062826

v2062835

Unemployment rates

v2062815

v2062824

v2062833

Participation rates

v2062816

v2062825

v2062834

 

Labour Force Survey, start date January 1953:

25 to 54 years

Both sexes

Men

Women

Labour Force

v2062945

v2062954

v2062963

Employment

v2062946

v2062955

v2062964

Employment rates

v2062952

v2062961

v2062970

Unemployment rates

v2062950

v2062959

v2062968

Participation rates

v2062951

v2062960

v2062969

 

Quarterly data

Economic Accounts; Expenditure approach - chained 2012 dollars (real). Start date 1947Q1

Variable

Vectors

GDP

v62305752

Consumption expenditures

v62305724 + v62305730

Investment expenditures

v62305733 + v62305739 + v62305742

Government expenditures

v62305731 + v62305740 + v62305741 - v62305742

Exports

v62305745

Imports

v62305748

 

Economic Accounts; Expenditure approach - current dollars (nominal). Start date 1947Q1

Variable

Vectors

GDP

v62305783

Consumption expenditures

v62305755 + v62305761

Investment expenditures

v62305764 + v62305770 + v62305773

Government expenditures

v62305762 + v62305771 + v62305772 - v62305742

Exports

v62305776

Imports

v62305779

 

Economic Accounts; Income approach

 

Variable

Vectors

Gross National Income

v62468852

Gross Domestic Income

Explainer

Trading gain

Explainer

Terms of trade

(v62305776/ v62305745)/( v62305779/ v62305748)

Net National Income

v62468848

Compensation of employees

v62295549

Disposable income

v62305981

GFDE deflator

Explainer

GDP deflator

v62305783/v62305752

 

Balance of Payments; Current Account; Receipts, payments and balances. Start date 1946Q1

Variable

Vectors

Total

v61915244, v61915273, v61915304

Goods and services

v61915245, v61915274, v61915305

Investment income

v61915255, v61915283, v61915315

 

 

 

Why this site exists

As anyone who works with Canadian economic time series data is aware, Statistics Canada has a frustrating habit of starting new time series with new definitions and/or new methodologies and not updating historical data. As a result, recent Canadian economic history consists largely of discontinued fragments in the ‘Archived Series’ sections of Statistics Canada’s data base. This is an effort to piece some of those fragments together to produce rough-and-ready, consistent time series for some important economic variables.

 

Data sources

All source data were originally published by Statistics Canada. So far, I have used data taken from Statistics Canada’s data tables, the Monthly Review of Business Statistics, the Canadian Statistical Review, Historical Labour Force Statistics, the Labour Force Survey, the Bank of Canada Review, and the Bank of Canada’s Statistical Summary.

 

Methodology

The basic technique is to link two series based on their relative values on the earliest observation in which they overlap. Suppose A is the old series and B is the new series:

A1

A2

A3

A4

A5

A6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B4

B5

B6

B7

B8

B9

B10

 

These would be linked at the 4th observation:

A1

A2

A3

A4

A5

A6

 

 

 

 

A1*(B4/A4)

A2*(B4/A4)

A3*(B4/A4)

B4

B5

B6

B7

B8

B9

B10

 

The assumption being made here is that the only difference between A and B is one of scale: the period-to-period growth rates were not affected by the transition from series A to series B. This assumption is never strictly true, so no great claims about the precision of these estimates are made here. But it is to be hoped that they are better than nothing.

 

Data presentation

All data are scaled to be consistent with the most recent data being updated by Statistics Canada. While I will try to keep these data updated as often as I can, you should be able to use the Statistics Canada vector number (for example, v65201210 is the current estimate for monthly GDP) to do updates on your own.

Note: the most recent observations posted here are often subject to revision. If you’re updating these series using the most recent Statistics Canada data, download at least 5 years’ worth of historical data to make sure you’ve captured all of the latest revisions.

 

Some notes on seasonal adjustment

All data are seasonally adjusted, either by me or by Statistics Canada.

 

Statistics Canada’s adjusted CPI series starts in 1992, but the unadjusted series goes back much further. I reverse-engineered a two-sided X24 filter that transformed the unadjusted data into something that closely fits the adjusted series, and this filter was used to adjust CPI data before 1992.

 

Earnings data before 1983 are not adjusted by Statistics Canada. I used monthly dummies to adjust for seasonality.

 

Worthwhile Canadian Initiative blog posts on Project Link:

·        2016: Project Link: Piecing together recent Canadian economic history

·        2017: Project Link update: Labour Force Survey, 1953-2017

·        2018: Project Link update

·        2019: Project Link update

 

Comments / Suggestions / Requests

This is an ongoing project. Advice and constructive criticism are welcome: stephen@ecn.ulaval.ca