Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

March 11, 2005 08:38 ET

Jobs: Private Sector Still on Hold

Attention: Business/Financial Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor OTTAWA--(CCNMatthews - March 11, 2005) - The private sector has not created most of the new jobs in the past year. Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey for February, once again, shows the imbalance between the necessary re-investment in the services to people that the public sector provides and the scarcity of investments in the business sectors to sustain new family-supporting jobs.

"In last month's budget, the federal government unfortunately squandered the opportunity to shape a long-term job strategy and industrial policy for the country," says Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress. "New, well-paid family-supporting jobs are lacking and there is still no sign that tax-cuts to the wealthy and to large corporations translate into job creation in the private sector."

The unemployment numbers - Statistics Canada reports that in February 2005, last month, the unemployment rate remained steady at 7% compared to the previous month. The manufacturing sector has lost 114,000 jobs short since November 2002. Since last fall, tourism related industries have been bleeding also. In seasonally-adjusted numbers, the number of Canadians who want to work but do not have a job totals 1,208,500.

Economist Pierre Laliberté's Analysis

On the surface, job growth and a steady unemployment rate at 7.0% would appear positive. However, there remains underlying weaknesses:

• Manufacturing jobs have dropped another 28,000, continuing a trend that began when the Canadian dollar started its rise against the U.S. dollar two years ago. In fact, there are 163,000 less people in processing, manufacturing, and utilities occupations than there were only two years ago.

• Another sector that appears to suffer from the dollar strength is that of accommodation and food services which has lost 20,000 jobs, and has been stagnant for some time now.

• The public sector through hiring in education (20,500), health (9,900) and public administration (1,300) accounted for most of the increase in jobs, offsetting a weak year in 2004.

• Paid employment increased only because of a rise in public sector payroll in the education sector. When it comes to private services, all the gains were made by an increase in the number of people self-employed. This typically reflects an hesitation on the part of employers to hire, and was the hallmark of the sluggish 1990s labour market.

• Today's number confirms the wisdom of the Bank of Canada in not increasing its rates, and helping to hold the lid on further dollar appreciation. This is especially important given the softness that is emerging in the construction sector. However, the numbers also show that writing blank cheques to the corporate sector does not translate into investment and hiring in the private sector.

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 137 district labour councils. Web site: /For further information: Pierre Laliberté, Economist, 613-526-7409/ IN: ECONOMY, FINANCE, LABOUR, POLITICS, TRADE

Contact Information

  • Jean Wolff, Director, Communications Department, Canadian Labour Congress
    Primary Phone: 613-526-7431
    Secondary Phone: 613-878-6040