Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

April 07, 2006 09:32 ET

CLC/Jobs: It Looks Good, But How Long Can We Keep it Up?

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 7, 2006) - Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey for the month of March 2006 shows an employment situation in the country that, with the exception of manufacturing, is generally speaking good.

"These positive numbers also tell us that it is the time to plan and the time to invest in the skills needed for the future if, as a country, we want to keep unemployment low and improve the quality of life of working people, their families and their communities," says Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

"The improved jobs numbers should not hide that the country needs a jobs' strategy because the job market is going through a restructuring phase. Just like the country needs investments in the skills of workers to achieve higher productivity and competitiveness. The federal government should take the lead to make it happen with a co-ordinated response that involves all levels of government, labour and employers," explains Georgetti.

The unemployment numbers - Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey reports that in March 2006, the unemployment rate edged down to 6.3% from 6.4% the previous month. A 32-year low. The manufacturing sector remained the only sector still registering losses; over 117,000 jobs have been lost in that sector in the last twelve months. Beyond the good numbers, last month, in seasonally-adjusted numbers, there were still 1,111,300 Canadians who wanted to work but did not have a job.

Economist Pierre Laliberte's Analysis

- This is an all-around good news report: unemployment is down, and
on average, the jobs created seem to be of a better quality: full-
time, permanent, while wages are up. For the first time in a long
while, private sector employers are clearly pulling their weight
and doing most of the job creation.

- The situation of young Canadians is also improving with a higher
employment rate. Witness to this, youth have experienced a more
important wage increase than their older Canadians over the past
year (4.8 versus 3.6%).

- However, the goods-producing sector - particularly manufacturing,
but also construction - is still showing signs of weakness. This
brings some questions as to the sustainability of the current

- As well, the labour market situation remains the story of two
regions where western provinces have clearly been enjoying a
situation of low unemployment for some time, and the east is still
dealing with the impact of industrial restructuring.

- Wages - The regional imbalance is notable with respect to wage
increases. When the Alberta conditions are factored out, the
average wage increase in Canada is down to 3% - not as far above
the Consumer Price Index as some tend to claim.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 135 district labour councils. Web site:

Contact Information

  • Canadian Labour Congress
    Jean Wolff
    (613) 526-7431
    (613) 878-6040
    Canadian Labour Congress
    Pierre Laliberte
    (613) 526-7409