Express Employment Professionals

Express Employment Professionals

January 13, 2016 09:00 ET

Canadian Labour Force Reality Check: Positive Unemployment Numbers Hide Concerning Trend; Labour Force Participation Hovers Near 15-Year Low

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 13, 2016) - The latest Statistics Canada numbers confirm a concerning and consistent trend in Canada's economy. Canada's Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) continues to hover around 15-year lows, with relatively fewer people in the workforce.

Throughout 2015, Canada's LFPR hovered just above the 15-year low of 65.6 per cent – a number last seen in May, 2000. December 2015 Statistics Canada numbers reported a LFPR of 65.9 per cent.

Some economists have attributed the lower participation rate to demographics and retiring baby boomers; while others argue there is no cause for concern and that Canada's LFPR rate is in line with long-term historic averages.

These arguments, however, cannot account for a clear decline in labour force participation since the 2008 financial crash. Before 2008, Canadian labour force participation was on the rise.

"Since 2008, we have seen encouraging unemployment numbers, and yet a downward labour force participation trend. The unemployment numbers are hiding the fact that fewer people are working," said Bob Funk, CEO of Express Employment Professionals, a leading staffing provider with 36 franchises in five provinces across Canada.

"We cannot make the mistake of overlooking the declining number of Canadians in the workforce. If we do, we are ignoring the plight of hundreds of thousands of Canadians—and that is unacceptable."

Recent national surveys by Express Employment Professional have shown four in 10 unemployed Canadians have given up looking for work.

To view the graphs for "The Post 2008 Financial Crash Trend Lines" and "The Pre 2008 Financial Crash Trend Lines," please visit the following link:

The solution to lower labour force participation: address the skills gap

While Canadian labour force participation has declined, recent Express Employment Professionals surveys show an increasing skills gap.

"If we are going to strengthen our labor force, the skills gap must be addressed. We must empower workers—both young people entering the workforce and those who are in need of mid-career retraining—to pursue credentials in in-demand fields. Those who have been out of the labour force for an extended period of time are particularly likely to need retraining in order to be competitive job applicants," said Funk.

In Canada, the skills gap is most prevalent in certain sectors. A 2015 survey asked Express franchisees about the hardest jobs to fill in their markets. To view the corresponding graph, please visit the following link:

A corresponding survey of businesses revealed why those jobs are not filled. The answer? A lack of skills and experience plays a large role. To view the corresponding graph, please visit the following link:

If you would like to arrange for an interview with Bob Funk to discuss this topic, please contact Kellie Major at (613) 222-7488.

About Robert A. Funk

Robert A. "Bob" Funk is chairman and chief executive officer of Express Employment Professionals. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the international staffing company has franchises in the U.S., Canada and South Africa. Under his leadership, Express has put more than 6 million people to work worldwide. Funk served as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and was also the Chairman of the Conference of Chairmen of the Federal Reserve.

About Express Employment Professionals and Express in Canada

Express Employment Professionals puts people to work. It generated $3.02 billion in sales and employed more than 500,000 people in 2015. Its long-term goal is to put a million people to work annually. Express launched in Canada in July 1996, with a franchise in London, Ontario, and since then, has expanded and grown across Canada significantly. There are currently 36 Express franchises in Canada – five in British Columbia, five in Alberta, two in Saskatchewan, 23 in Ontario and one in Nova Scotia.

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