Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

April 05, 2012 11:11 ET

Improved Job Numbers May Not Be Sustainable

CLC President comments on Labour Force Survey for March 2012

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 5, 2012) - The President of the Canadian Labour Congress has welcomed improvements in the job market in March, but Ken Georgetti says they may not be sustainable.

"We are very pleased to see that the number of full-time jobs increased in March," says Georgetti, but in the five previous months 40,700 Canadians lost full-time jobs.

Georgetti was commenting on the release by Statistics Canada of its Labour Force Survey for March 2012. The national unemployment rate was 7.2% and there were 1,356,200 unemployed Canadians in March. He says the job market would have to see sustained improvements to get back to where it was before the 2008 recession.

Georgetti adds that the improvements in March will be undercut by thousands of layoffs due to cutbacks in recent federal and provincial budgets. "That is going to create a lot of personal pain and uncertainty in the job market."

Georgetti says the loss of those public sector jobs and services was not necessary. "The federal government has chosen to borrow billions of dollars to spend on tax giveaways to big business. Now Ottawa will pay for those corporate tax giveaways by making drastic spending cuts that will destroy jobs and important public services like food inspection and airline safety checks."

Georgetti says that the government will also make future seniors suffer by making them work longer to qualify for the Old Age Supplement (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), the means-tested supplement paid to the poorest seniors.

Georgetti adds, "The gap between Canada's highest and lowest income earners is growing. It's time for the government to take a larger and stronger role in making the economy work for the average Canadian."

Quick Analysis from CLC Chief Economist Andrew Jackson

Today's job numbers for March are much stronger than they have been since last September. Job creation was very strong - up 82,300 in the month, with 70,000 of those positions being full-time. The national unemployment rate fell from 7.4% to 7.2%, the level it was at last September. The youth unemployment rate also fell sharply, from 14.7% to 13.9%.

The new jobs were concentrated in hard-hit central Canada, and included a modest job gain of 11,800 in manufacturing. Jobs were divided between private sector employees (up 42,600); self-employment (up 18,800); and public sector employees (up 20,900.)

While all of this is welcome news, the employment rate (the proportion of the working age population holding a job) has still not recovered to the level of last September (61.8% compared to 62.0%) and still remains well below the pre-2008 recession level of 63.6%. On top of the 1.4 million unemployed, many Canadians have dropped out of the workforce.

Another sign of a still-soft job market is that the year over year increase in average hourly wages is, at 2.5%, just matching the rate of inflation.

The job numbers for March also come before we begin to feel the impacts of the austerity Budgets being introduced by the federal and many provincial governments.

In short, March was a good month, but it is far from clear that we will see the sustained improvement in the job market needed to get us back to where we were before the 2008 recession.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 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: Follow us on Twitter: @CanadianLabour

Contact Information

  • Andrew Jackson
    CLC Chief Economist

    Dennis Gruending
    CLC Communications
    Mobile: 613-878-6040