Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

August 08, 2008 09:45 ET

Prime Minister, We Have a Problem

Loss of 55,000 jobs in July marks worst month since the last recession

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 8, 2008) - Canada lost more jobs in the month of July than at any other time since the 1991 recession. According to today's Labour Force Survey, employment dropped by 55,000 in July, a record single-month job loss figure created my massive job cuts across the private sector, largely in Ontario and Quebec.

The last time Canada's economy shed so many jobs was in February 1991, the height of the last recession. Prior to that, the only time the country experienced monthly job losses in the 55,000 range was August 1982, during the previous recession.

Equally disturbing are signs of discouragement among Canadians looking for work. Despite the record-setting loss of jobs, the unemployment rate - the number of people actively seeking work - dropped to 6.1% as many people, particularly youth, left the labour force. (See below detailed analysis by the Canadian Labour Congress' Senior Economist Sylvain Schetagne.)

Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress calls today's job numbers a catastrophe for working families already worried about the rising cost fuel, food and other essentials.

"These numbers are truly shocking. Canadians haven't experienced job losses like this since 17 years ago, when the country was in full recession. Since this time last year, we've lost another 88,000 manufacturing jobs. Now, in the middle of the summer, we're seeing people give up on the job market altogether. This is a catastrophe for working families," he said.

The Canadian Labour Congress blames the worsening jobs situation in the country on the federal government and continues to demand immediate action to prevent further deterioration.

"The Bank of Canada must focus on jobs and families before apparent signs of future inflation. And our government needs a forceful jobs strategy, a Made-in-Canada plan to sustain and create jobs here. Moreover, it is becoming more and more unwise for the government to carry on with its plan to swallow the Employment Insurance fund surpluses," says Georgetti.

Senior Economist Sylvain Schetagne's Analysis

- The employment numbers for July 2008 confirm the downward trend of previous months. The single-month loss of 55,000 jobs marks the largest loss of employment since the last recession of the early 1990s.

-Not only did employment shrink, but Canadians began showing signs of discouragement at not being able to find work. A total of 74,000 people left the job market last month.

- The weakening manufacturing sector continued to drag the job market down with the loss of another 32,000 factory jobs in Ontario alone. These are the kind of good jobs that are fundamental to a healthy economy.

- Young people in particular are being hit by the loss of jobs. In July, 54,000 people between the ages of 15 and 24 gave up and left the job market as fewer young workers were able to find jobs last month, compared to this time last year.

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
    Jeff Atkinson
    613-863-1413 (Cell.)