Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

December 07, 2007 09:37 ET

Canadian Labour Congress: Holidays to be Difficult for 1.06 Million Canadians Who Can't Find a Job

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 7, 2007) - According to Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey for November, the ranks of unemployed workers grew by 25,100 - including new losses of 16,400 jobs in the manufacturing sector.

"That Canada is doing well on the job front compared to other countries is small comfort for 1,068,200 Canadians that want a job but will face the holiday seasons without a paycheck," says Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.

Georgetti also points out that at a national level there is no plan to address their hardship - neither immediately nor for the long term - despite some serious weaknesses in the our economy.

"Immediately the federal government should listen to the calls of the actuaries, the United Way, the food banks and the labour movement about the need to make access to Employment Insurance more fair."

"For the long term, the federal government needs to take the lead to arrive at a co-ordinated made-in-Canada jobs strategy that involves all levels of government, labour and employers." explains Georgetti. "It's time for the federal government to show willingness to prevent further layoff announcements and stimulate the creation of good permanent jobs that pay good wages and benefits."

The unemployment numbers - Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey reports that last month, November 2007, the unemployment rate rose to 5.9% from 5.8% in October. More people entered the job market. The number of unemployed rose though the overall employment rate is at a record 63.8%. Last month, in seasonally-adjusted numbers, there were still 1,068,200 Canadians who wanted to work but did not have a job.

Economist Erin Weir's Analysis


Although November's 42,600 increase in employment is striking, the 25,100 increase in unemployment deserves as much attention. While the number of workers employed grew by 0.3%, the number unemployed grew by 2.4%. Proportionally, unemployment growth in the last month nearly equals employment growth over the past year (2.7%).

The higher unemployment rate contradicts the conventional wisdom of a tight job market and labour shortages. Canada now officially recognizes 1.1 million people as looking for work, but being unable to find it. Of course, many more Canadians remain underemployed or outside the labour force altogether.


A further 16,400 manufacturing jobs disappeared in November, pushing total losses to 314,600 since manufacturing employment peaked in November 2002. These severe losses are likely to continue as long as the Canadian dollar remains near parity with the American dollar.

Earlier this week, the Bank of Canada took a small step in the right direction in cutting interest rates by 0.25%. However, the US Federal Reserve has recently reduced interest rates by 0.75% and seems poised to cut them further. The Bank of Canada needs to continue lowering interest rates to moderate the exchange rate so that Canadian-made products can be competitive in foreign markets.


On Wednesday, Statistics Canada revealed that the value of Canada's fixed assets rose by only 2% per year from 1997 through 2007. Half of this growth occurred in Alberta. Investment barely exceeded depreciation in the rest of Canada.

This anemic business investment bodes poorly for the future of Canada's labour market. Alberta's investment boom created relatively few jobs because it is concentrated in the oil and gas industry, which is extremely capital-intensive as opposed to labour-intensive. More real investment in a wider range of industries is needed to create and sustain large numbers of high-productivity jobs.

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 136 district labour councils. Web site:

Contact Information

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