Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

April 09, 2009 08:48 ET

Canadian Labour Congress: Job Loss Carnage Continues

Georgetti says fix Employment Insurance and fix it now

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 9, 2009) - The job loss carnage continues in Canada and it is urgent that the Employment Insurance program be fixed so that it covers more people who are unemployed, says Canadian labour Congress President Ken Georgetti.

Statistics Canada reports that another 61,000 jobs were lost in March, pushing the unemployment rate to 8.0% and increasing the number of Canadians who want to work but cannot find a job to over 1.45 million.

"The numbers are stunning," says Georgetti, "but what really annoys us is that the percentage of unemployed Canadians receiving EI is actually declining."

The latest Statistics Canada data available shows that only 42.8% of unemployed Canadians were receiving EI benefits in January 2009, down from 44.4% in December 2008. "This should not be happening in the current environment. The EI system is not working for those who paid into it. We have to fix EI and we have to fix it now."

Georgetti adds that EI is important to communities as well as individuals. "The unemployed spend their money in stores and gas stations, for children's clothes, sports and music lessons. That money keeps the lights on in the community while people go about looking for new work."

Quick Analysis from Senior Economist, Sylvain Schetagne

61,300 jobs were lost in Canada in March. In fact, 79,500 full-time jobs were lost but some part-time jobs were added last month.

The number of full-time jobs lost since October 2008: 386,500.

Canadian workers who have lost their jobs since October 2008: 356,500.

The unemployment rate has risen to 8.0% (it was 6.3% in October 2008). The unemployment rate is back to where it was in December 2001, more than 7 years ago.

Many economists now expect the unemployment rate will rise above 10% by late 2009, and near 11% sometime in 2010. In its latest Economic Outlook, the OECD is predicting an unemployment rate of 10.8% at the end of 2010.

The broadest measure of unemployment (R8), which includes discouraged workers and involuntary part-time workers, is rising rapidly. It rose from 8.0% in October 2008 to 11.7% in February 2009. (These data are not seasonally adjusted, but the "real" rate of unemployment was also up sharply compared to February 2008.)

The manufacturing and construction sectors saw significant reductions in employment last month. Since last October, 134,000 jobs have been lost in manufacturing, and 99,000 in construction.

There were significant job losses in March among men aged 25 to 54.

Workers aged 15 to 24 have seen their unemployment rate move up to 14.8%, the highest since 1998.

Canada now has over 1,456,600 unemployed men and women. This represents an increase of 26.5% since last October.

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. Website:

Contact Information

  • Canadian Labour Congress
    Sylvain Schetagne
    Senior Economist
    Canadian Labour Congress
    Dennis Gruending
    613-878-6040 or 613-878-6040