Job numbers released by Statistics Canada today signal an important opportunity for the government to invest in expanded public infrastructure and manufacturing, a strategy that would create much needed quality jobs and tackle labour market stagnation.
“Today’s numbers point very clearly to what we should be seeing in next month’s federal budget,” said CLC president Hassan Yussuff.
Since November 2014, the first jobs report after the dollar dipped below 90 cents US, Ontario has lost 20,000 jobs in manufacturing. Half of those losses came between January and February. Quebec has managed to hold on to its manufacturing employment, increasing slightly over the same period.
“Instead of investing in tax cuts for wealthy Canadians, we need a federal budget that will invest in infrastructure like public transit – infrastructure that can support Canadian industry and increase productivity for local businesses by reducing congestion,” said Yussuff.
Yussuff said investments in social infrastructure such as child care and home care have similar benefits, stimulating employment and supporting private sector productivity.
“With very low borrowing costs, we can make these investments in order to accelerate economic growth and job creation while holding down our overall debt to GDP ratio,” he added.
Overall employment numbers were discouraging, with the unemployment rate rising from 6.6% to 6.8% and no new net jobs were created. There were 29,000 jobs lost in the private sector, made up for by gains of 25,000 in the public sector – mostly in Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia – and 4,000 in self-employed positions.
“It is encouraging to see some public sector job creation in some provinces, and I hope the federal government is inspired to follow suit in April’s budget by investing in rebuilding federal public services such as those so desperately needed for veterans, seniors and the unemployed,” said Yussuff.