Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

September 10, 2010 10:03 ET

Government Must Do More for Unemployed

CLC president responds to Statistics Canada job numbers

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 10, 2010) - The federal government has to do more to support workers hit by continuing high levels of unemployment, says Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

"The federal government is walking away from workers and their families at a time when unemployment remains high and the economic recovery is fragile," Georgetti says. "These people and their communities need more support, not less."

Georgetti was commenting on the release by Statistics Canada of its Labour Force Survey for August 2010. There were 1.51 million unemployed Canadians in August, a number well above the 1,137,400 who were unemployed in October 2008. The unemployment for August remains high at 8.1%.

Ottawa is ending a program that offered extended EI benefits to unemployed workers. Ottawa has also announced that it will shut down its package of stimulus spending by March 2011, and a federal panel appointed by the government is recommending a hike in the Employment Insurance premiums paid by workers.

"Workers did not cause the economic crisis that we have endured but they have been its primary victims," Georgetti says. "More than one-in-five unemployed Canadians have been unemployed for more than six months and many have run out of EI benefits. The government must extend the program allowing people to continue collecting benefits for as long as the unemployment rate remains high."

Quick Analysis from CLC Senior Economist Sylvain Schetagne  

The number of jobs created in August was not sufficient to fulfill the needs of Canadians looking for work. A total of 53,500 people entered the labour market in August, but only 35,800 were able to find a job, leaving about 17,800 more Canadians unemployed than in July. As a result, the unemployment rate rose from 8.0% to 8.1% between July and August 2010.

The real unemployment rate, a rate that includes discouraged workers and involuntary part-time workers, was 11.6% in August. This was considerably higher than that observed back in October 2008, prior to the "Great Recession", when the real unemployment rate was 8%. There are 373,000 more unemployed Canadians today than there were in the fall of 2008, an increase of 32.8%.

While the number of full-time jobs was up in August 2010 (+79,900), two major components for a sustainable recovery of the labour market were down - the number of private sector employees, and total employment in the goods-producing sector (-39,000 and -8,200). Even more problematic, the number of jobs is down by 25,600 in manufacturing, reaching one of the lowest levels of employment recorded in the last 30 years.

A significant increase in educational service jobs observed between July and August colours the labour force data released today. Without this adjustment, the labour market would have shed a total of about 30,000 jobs in August in both the private and public sectors, including in the goods and services-producing sector.

Finally, there are still 185,000 fewer full-time jobs today than at the beginning of the recession in October 2008. The proportion of part-time work is up significantly since then, representing 19.7% of the workforce.

The long-term unemployment rate remains high. The percentage of Canadians who have been unemployed for more than 6 months was 22.2% in August, the second highest level of long-term unemployment observed since the jobs crisis began in October 2008. Prior to the crisis, long-term unemployment rate was around 12%.

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:

Contact Information

  • Canadian Labour Congress
    Sylvain Schetagne
    Senior Economist
    Canadian Labour Congress
    Dennis Gruending
    613-526-7431 or Mobile: 613-878-6040