Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

December 03, 2010 11:41 ET

Jobs Crisis Far From Over in Canada

CLC president responds to Statistics Canada job numbers

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 3, 2010) - The Canadian economy is not creating enough good jobs to accommodate a growing workforce and too much work is part-time, temporary and poorly paid, says Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress.

"Canadian workers were hit by a deep recession in October 2008 and we have not yet recovered from it," Georgetti says. "In fact, our unemployment rate would be even higher if many people had not given up looking for work."

Georgetti was commenting on the release by Statistics Canada of its Labour Force Survey for November 2010. There were 1,426,900 million unemployed Canadians in November, well above the 1,137,400 who were unemployed in October 2008. The unemployment for November 2010 remains high at 7.6%. It was 6.2% in October 2008.

"We have a problem with both the number of jobs being created and their quality," Georgetti says. "We have to focus on creating full-time, family-supporting jobs."

Quick Analysis from CLC Senior Economist Sylvain Schetagne  

November 2010 saw a very minimal recovery for working people, and it was a difficult month for younger workers and those in manufacturing. As of November, the total number of employed Canadians had returned to the pre-recession level (up 23,700).

However, the labour force has grown by 1.7% over those two years. As a result, there were still almost 1.5 million unemployed workers (1,426,900) or 25.45% more than in October 2008.

While the total number of employed Canadians may have returned to pre-recession levels, there has been a change in the quality of jobs. There are more part-timers than before the recession (up from 18.4% in October 2008 to 19.3% of total employment last month), and most importantly there has been a significant increase in temporary work (+88,900) in the last 12 months.

The unemployment rate for November was 7.6%, down from 7.9% in October. That number would be much higher if the participation rate (the proportion of the working age population working or actively looking for work) had not fallen from 67.8% in October 2008 to 66.9% in November, and if 43,600 Canadians, mainly younger workers, had not left the labour market last month.

Recessions hit younger workers hardest since they are usually the first to be laid off and the last to be hired, and the Great Recession was no different. Even after a partial recovery from the low point in the summer of 2009, the labour market situation facing young workers (aged 15 to 24) is grim, and much worse than before the recession began. Most strikingly, the employment rate for youth — that is, the proportion of the age group who are working — has fallen very sharply, over the past two years, by five percentage points from 59.5% to 54.6%. And the proportion of youth with jobs who are working part-time has risen from 44.9% to 47.6%.

The youth unemployment rate has jumped from 12.1% to 13.6%, but would be much higher if the youth participation rate (that is, the proportion either working or actively looking for work) had not fallen sharply in the last 25 months, from 67.7% to 63.2%. The significant decrease in the number of youth participating in the labour market last month, down by 40,400, has likely occurred because young people have given up the search for work, or have decided not to work while in school. The proportion of young persons with no jobs has not fallen because of increased enrolment in education. In both 2007 and to date in 2010, 17% of those aged 15 to 19 and 60% of those aged 20 to 24 were not attending school.

Finally, the number of people working in manufacturing has reached the lowest point recorded in decades. Just 35 years ago, about 1 in 5 Canadians was employed in manufacturing. Today, that number is 1 in 10, or half of what it was.

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.

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