Statistics Canada’s most recent Labour Force Survey results are cause for concern, as they demonstrate a continuing, precarious economic situation.
Employment fell by 36,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate rose to 7.1 per cent. Nova Scotia and Manitoba saw massive increases in unemployment. Saskatchewan was the only province to see any job gains this month.
“Looking at these numbers and how they fit into the long-term trend, it’s concerning. Our previous government sat on their hands. Now, our new government has an opportunity to turn things around, and there is no time to delay,” said Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff.
Looking deeper into the numbers shows that self-employment growth is outpacing regular, paid jobs. Regular paid positions fell by 62,000 in November, partially offset by a 26,000 gain in precarious, self-employed positions.
The Liberal government’s election platform included strong commitments to investing in infrastructure, including new, dedicated funding for public transit, social infrastructure, and green infrastructure. Yussuff said following through on these infrastructure investments should be a key priority for the new government.
Further, while the unemployment rate for young workers fell from 13.3 per cent to 12.7 per cent, that’s because 40,000 young workers dropped out of the labour market in November 2015.
“The situation we’re seeing shows a youth employment strategy is urgently needed, and that must include expanded training and apprenticeship opportunities,” said Yussuff.
This month’s numbers did show a small increase in manufacturing positions; however, Yussuff said he’s concerned the Trans-Pacific Partnership could reverse this trend.
“The TPP has the potential to seriously impact auto parts manufacturing unless significant changes are made,” said Yussuff. “We look forward to public discussion about the details of the agreement and how we can safeguard manufacturing jobs.”
Looking back at the past year, job growth has been slow (0.7 per cent) and concentrated in the public sector. Jobs in the natural resources sector fell by seven per cent or 26,000 over the past year and there has not been an engine of economic growth to pick up the slack. Health care and social assistance was the sector with the largest job growth over the past year, adding 69,000 jobs (a three per cent increase).