Project Link
Piecing
together recent Canadian economic history
The main 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. The most recent update is based
on data available in June 2021.
There are also estimates for the distribution of
income in Canada for each year over the period 19442010. These estimates will
not be updated; see here
for a description of how they were calculated.
·
Original
data (taken from Taxation Statistics)
·
Estimates
for income percentiles, quantiles and income shares and other statistics.
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 

Trading gain 

Terms of trade 
(v62305776/ v62305745)/( v62305779/
v62305748) 
Net National Income 
v62468848 
Compensation of employees 
v62295549 
Disposable income 
v62305981 
GFDE deflator 

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 roughandready, 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 4^{th}
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 periodtoperiod 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 reverseengineered a
twosided 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, 19532017
·
2018: Project
Link update
·
2019: Project
Link update
·
2021: Project Link update
Comments / Suggestions / Requests
This is an ongoing project. Advice and constructive
criticism are welcome: stephen@ecn.ulaval.ca