Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

March 09, 2012 09:36 ET

Next Federal Budget Must Assist in Creating Jobs

CLC President comments on job numbers for February 2012

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 9, 2012) - The President of the Canadian Labour Congress is calling on the federal government to use its upcoming budget to assist in creating good, family supporting jobs.

Ken Georgetti was commenting on the release by Statistics Canada of its Labour Force Survey for February 2012. The national unemployment rate was 7.4% and there were 1,386,000 unemployed Canadians in February.

"Our economy continues to shed jobs and the government is planning to take the ax to both public sector jobs and services in the March 29 budget," Georgetti says. "This would be a disaster for thousands of Canadian families."

Georgetti says that Canada has lost 500,000 well-paying manufacturing jobs since 2003. The middle class is shrinking and the the gap between Canada's highest and lowest income earners is growing. "Budgets are all about choices. It's time for the government to take a larger and stronger role in making the economy work for the average Canadians. This government should be developing policies that ensure Canadians can afford their basic needs in tough times."

The CLC is calling upon Ottawa to invest, in partnership with the provinces and cities, in a major, multi-year program of infrastructure projects and badly-needed public services. "These investments can be paid for by reversing government tax giveaways to corporations," Georgetti says. "Finance Department figures show that $1 billion invested in infrastructure creates more than five times as many jobs as the same amount spent on corporate tax cuts."

Quick Analysis from CLC Senior Economist Angella MacEwan

Today's job numbers underscore the need for a federal budget to create jobs rather than destroy them. The overall picture since September of last year has been one of job losses, a decline in the quality of jobs, and falling real wages. The recovery in the job market has stalled and gone into reverse. The national unemployment rate fell from 7.6% to 7.4% in February, but only because 38,000 Canadians gave up looking for work. Total employment fell by 3,000, and we lost 15,000 wage and salaried jobs, offset by a rise in self-employment which usually provides much lower earnings. Early signs of the impact of government spending cuts on jobs were apparent in 15,000 lost public administration jobs last month. Another 22,000 jobs were cut in health and social services. This is happening before the job market is impacted by expected deep cuts in federal and provincial budgets later this month. There was a significant jump in the youth unemployment rate from 14.5% to 14.7%, and this increase would have been even higher if not for many young workers leaving the labour force. Meanwhile, employment increased for older workers. Real wages are continuing to fall. Average hourly earnings are up just 2.0% over the past year, well below the 2.5% inflation rate in January.

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

  • Angella MacEwen
    CLC Senior Economist

    Dennis Gruending
    CLC Communications
    Mobile: 613-878-6040