Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

January 05, 2007 09:40 ET

CLC/Job Numbers: Uneven Growth, Unequal Rewards

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 5, 2007) - "Today's job numbers don't look good when you zoom in and sort out the details," says Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress regarding Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey for December 2006. (See analysis below by economist Erin Weir)

"The big growth in job creation is concentrated in a few regions. Too large a proportion of the new jobs are part-time or precarious even though, over the last twelve months, creation of full-time paid employment has increased. While bank economists are worrying about a tight labour market, the vast majority of workers are not getting raises that match productivity. The economy generates an uneven growth that does not spread the rewards."

"It's becoming truly urgent that the federal government tackles the fact that our economy is only superficially healthy. Canada needs a plan, a jobs strategy. The Canadian Labour Congress believes we are facing a major employment-market adjustment crisis which demands a serious and co-ordinated response by all levels of government working closely with labour and employers," concludes Georgetti.

The unemployment numbers - Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey reports that last month, December 2006, the unemployment rate dipped to 6.1% from 6.3% in November. Employment in Canada during 2006 grew mostly because of a boom in Alberta and the other oil and gas producing provinces: Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. However, in 2006, the crisis in manufacturing deepened as 60,000 workers lost their jobs, making it a total of 216,000 lost jobs in that sector where the average wage is $20.68 per hour. Last month, in seasonally-adjusted numbers, there were still 1,075,000 Canadians who wanted to work but did not have a job.

Economist Erin Weir's Analysis

Interest Rates - The employment data for 2006 in Canada provides no economic justification for the Bank of Canada to raise interest rates. The Bank should even consider lowering rates. Outside of Alberta, wage growth was quite modest. Higher interest rates would aggravate the crisis in Canada's manufacturing sector. For more on monetary policy, see "Is the Canadian Labour Market Really Operating at Capacity?" on our web site.

Employment disparities - Canada has lost 216,000 manufacturing jobs since manufacturing employment peaked in November 2002. Of these job losses, 130,000 have occurred in Ontario.

- Ontario - About two-thirds of that province's employment gains in 2006 were part-time positions.

- Nova Scotia - Employment in Nova Scotia was lower in 2006 than it had been in 2005.

- Quebec - The record-low unemployment rate in that province results from fewer people searching for work, not necessarily because they found jobs.

Wages - Raises have been weak outside of Western Canada.

- Excluding Alberta, average hourly wages increased by 2.1% between December 2005 and December 2006.

- Excluding Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, wages increased by only 1.7%.

- In Quebec, wages increased by 1.0% for all employees and by only 0.4% for male employees. Relative to inflation, overall wages were completely stagnant and men's wages declined. Similarly, wage increases in Manitoba barely exceeded the provincial inflation rate.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.2 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 135 district labour councils.

Contact Information

  • Canadian Labour Congress
    Jean Wolff
    613-526-7431 and 613-878-6040
    Canadian Labour Congress
    Erin Weir