Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

August 10, 2007 09:59 ET

CLC: Working People Make Gains in July

But it's not enough to justify another hike in interest rates or continued government inaction on manufacturing

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 10, 2007) - The latest employment numbers from Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey show that July was a relatively good month for workers.

Finally, there's a bit of good news for working people across the country. More people looking for work were able to find full-time jobs. Employment for young Canadians continued to be strong. Wages were on the rise. And the beleaguered manufacturing sector saw a gain in jobs after months of devastating losses, particularly in central Canada.

Things got better in July, relatively speaking. However this should not be used as a convenient excuse to ignore what's been happening for the past few years. We're still down more than 75,000 manufacturing jobs since January. Outside of Alberta and Ontario, employment actually fell in July. While Ontario recovered some manufacturing jobs, the smoking Alberta economy lost manufacturing jobs and replaced them with lower-paying jobs in the services sector.

"There's certainly no reason here to justify another announcement from the Bank of Canada that interest rates are going up. Too many good jobs with good wages would be put at risk. The same can be said for any continued foot-dragging on the part of government when it comes to a Made-in-Canada jobs strategy," says Canadian Labour Congress president Ken Georgetti.

Economist Erin Weir's Analysis:

Job Numbers

As Statistics Canada noted, "Employment was little changed in July". Employment growth in Alberta and Ontario was largely offset by job losses in the other eight provinces. As a result, the Canadian labour market created 11,300 new positions in July, far fewer than in previous months.

Some commentators argue that the Bank of Canada needs to raise interest rates again in response to Canada's "tight" labour market. Today's moderate figures do not support this argument.

Employment Quality

Encouragingly, all of these 11,300 new jobs were full-time, paid positions. A further 8,400 part-time jobs were replaced with full-time jobs and a further 4,600 self-employed positions were replaced with positions paid by an employer.

Ontario was an exception to these national developments: the creation of 25,100 part-time jobs masked the loss of 13,700 full-time jobs. Self-employment increased more than paid employment.

Average hourly wages rose by 3.7% nationwide and by 3.0% in Ontario from July 2006 through July 2007.

Manufacturing Employment Rebounds

Canadian manufacturing employment increased by 19,600 jobs in July. This modest rebound follows a loss of 95,300 manufacturing jobs from February through June. As a result, manufacturing employment is still down by 75,700 jobs since January 2007.

Alberta Gains Service Employment

Strikingly, all of Alberta's 13,600 new jobs were in the service sector, which tends to pay lower wages than the goods-producing sector. Alberta lost 6,900 manufacturing jobs in July.

In Alberta, both wages and prices are increasing at annual rates just above 6%. Despite talk of "labour shortages", Alberta employers are failing to raise wages faster than prices to attract workers. As a result, real wages are stagnant in Alberta.

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

Contact Information

  • Canadian Labour Congress
    Jeff Atkinson, Communications
    613-526-7425 and 613-863-1413
    or
    Canadian Labour Congress
    Erin Weir, Economist
    613-526-7412
    www.canadianlabour.ca