Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

November 02, 2012 11:30 ET

Canadian Economy Falling Behind in Job Creation

CLC President comments Statistics Canada report

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 2, 2012) - The Canadian economy is not producing enough jobs and the federal government must shift its priority from austerity and cutbacks to job creation says Canadian Labour Congress President Ken Georgetti.

"We have not been adding enough jobs in Canada to keep pace with our growing population," Georgetti says. "Government ministers won't admit this but it is true."

Georgetti was commenting on the release by Statistics Canada of its Labour Force Survey for October 2012. There were 1,410,000 unemployed Canadians in September and the unemployment rate was 7.4%. In the 15 to 24 age group, unemployment stood at 14.7 % and 48.1% of young workers are employed only part-time.

Other information provided recently by Statistics Canada shows that since September 2008, when the recession began, the Canadian labour force has increased by 670,000 workers, but the labour market has only added 403,000 jobs.

Georgetti says there is also a problem with the quality of jobs being created. "A lot of people are willing and able to work full-time but they can't find full-time employment. Back in September 2007, 19% of part-time workers were underemployed, but 25% of part-time workers were underemployed in September 2012."

Georgetti says that the situation will likely get worse if the government continues with its emphasis on austerity. "The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates that the government's spending cuts will slow down the economy and that means we will have 125,000 fewer jobs in Canada by 2016 than would otherwise be the case."

Georgetti adds, "This is not the time for the government to pull back. The private sector is not creating enough jobs, and Ottawa should invest in public infrastructure job-creating projects such as rapid transit and retrofitting buildings for better energy efficiency."

Quick Analysis from CLC Senior Economist Angella MacEwen

Overall there was very little change in the Canadian labour market in October, but it is still experiencing a significant slack. Since September 2008, when the recession began, the labour force has increased by 670,000 workers, but the labour market has only added 403,000 jobs. The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates that the cuts introduced in the March 2012 budget will slow GDP growth by 1% and eliminate another 125,000 jobs. There is still no relief for young workers. The proportion of youth unemployed for three months or more has increased to its highest level since October 2009, just after the end of the recession, and the real unemployment rate for youth remains high at 17.7%.

Canadians need decent jobs. One indicator here is the proportion of workers who are in low paid jobs, making less than two-thirds of the median wage. The 2012 Food Bank HungerCount report points out that even before the recession Canada had a higher proportion of low-wage jobs than similar countries. In 2011, 24% of Canadian workers earned less than two-thirds of the median wage, or less than $13.33 per hour. All of the evidence indicates that cuts to the public service and Employment Insurance are bad policy that will hurt Canadians. We need investment in public infrastructure that serves Canadians, puts them to work and builds toward a prosperous future.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils. Web site: Follow us on Twitter @CanadianLabour

Contact Information

  • (English):
    Angella MacEwen
    CLC Senior Economist

    Sylvain Schetagne
    CLC Chief Economist

    Dennis Gruending
    CLC Communications
    Cell-text: 613-878-6040