Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

April 08, 2011 09:59 ET

Canadian Jobs Market Remains Sluggish

CLC President calls for continued investment in infrastructure

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 8, 2011) - The Canadian jobs market remains sluggish and the President of the Canadian Labour Congress is calling for long term investments in public infrastructure and public services such as child and elder care to create jobs and stimulate the economy.

Ken Georgetti was commenting on the release by Statistics Canada of its Labour Force Survey for March 2011. The economy lost a net of 1,500 jobs last month. There were 1,435,000 unemployed Canadians in March, well above the 1,138,400 who were unemployed in October 2008, just prior to the recession. The unemployment for March 2011 remained high at 7.7%. It was 6.1% in October 2008.

"Most of the jobs created in March were in construction and in the professional services that support it, such as architecture and engineering," says Georgetti. "Those jobs arose mainly from the government's infrastructure investments but now Ottawa says it will end that spending. That would be a big mistake."

Georgetti says the Conservative government's focus on corporate tax cuts to stimulate the economy is the wrong way to go. "Our research shows that a far better approach is to pursue policies that assist in creating good, family-supporting jobs. People with good jobs spend that money in the community and they pay income tax. That is the best way for the government to increase revenues and balance its books."

Quick Analysis from CLC Senior Economist Sylvain Schetagne

While many observers were predicting job creation in March 2011, the Canadian job market actually lost 1,500 jobs last month.

The number of Canadians employed or actively looking for a job decreased by 14,900 between February and March. The unemployment rate was down slightly, mainly because many discouraged unemployed workers left the labour market. That exodus meant the number of unemployed was down by 13,500 last month compared to February, but remained 29% higher than in October 2008.

While a positive shift occurred between part-time and full-time work last month, reducing the part-time rate from 19.7% to 19.1%, temporary work between March 2010 and March 2011 was up (+59,200). Self-employment was also up last month (+17,400) while the number of employees was down (-18,900).

Younger workers are still suffering. The youth unemployment rate was up in March 2011, and now sits at 14.4%.

Finally, as shown in the CLC's Recession Watch 5, which was released on April 7, growth in the construction industry and in professional, scientific and technical services continued (+24,300 and + 9,100), driven by investments in public infrastructure. Public sector jobs such as jobs in health care, education and public administration decreased (-27,200).

In fact, 77.4% of all jobs created since July 2009, the lowest level of the jobs crisis, were in three sectors: construction, professional services and health care. The job growth observed in these sectors will likely slow down in the future. The federal government plans to cut its investments in public infrastructure, interest rates are rising, mortgage rules are becoming more restrictive, and there will be cuts in public spending due to the government's focus on deficits rather than job creation.

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 130 district labour councils. Web site: www.canadianlabour.ca.

Contact Information

  • CLC
    Sylvain Schetagne
    Senior Economist
    613-526-7412

    CLC
    Dennis Gruending
    Communications
    613-526-7431
    Mobile: 613-878-6040
    dgruending@clc-ctc.ca