OTTAWA ― The President of the Canadian Labour Congress says that unemployment remains high in post-recession Canada and that both the number and quality of new jobs leave much to be desired.
“The official unemployment rate is stuck near the 7% level but that’s not the half of it,” says Ken Georgetti. “Underemployed workers and those who have given up looking now exceed the numbers who are officially unemployed. In the past 12 months, 40% of the new jobs have been part-time, and part-time workers now represent 19% of the total workforce. That is a shocking indictment of our record in creating jobs in Canada.”
Georgetti was commenting on the release by Statistics Canada of its Labour Force Survey for November 2013. “I continue to get letters and emails from people who have had no jobs for months, or who have precarious jobs. Some of the people who contact me are parents who are worried sick because their kids can’t find decent work. It’s really disturbing.”
According to Statistics Canada, there were 1,315,800 unemployed Canadians in November, and the unemployment rate is 6.9%. In the 15-to-24 age group, official unemployment stands at 13.4%. Fully 47.6% of young workers were employed only part-time in November.
“The Finance Minister keeps saying that we have replaced all of the jobs lost in the Great Recession of 2008-09. He does not mention that the size of the workforce has grown since 2008, and so we have really not caught up,” Georgetti says, “And the jobs being created, for the most part, are not full-time, family-supporting jobs. It is high time that the government stopped talking about austerity and started talking about helping to create good jobs.”
Quick Analysis from CLC Senior Economist Angella MacEwen
The labour market added 22,000 jobs in November, nearly all of them part-time and self-employed workers. The growth in private sector jobs offset losses in the public sector in November. In the past 12 months, part-time work has made up a disproportionate percentage of job growth, representing nearly 40% of new jobs and 19% of the total workforce.
Average employment growth in 2013, at 13,400 per month, has been markedly lower than the average of 25,400 jobs per month in 2012. Despite all of this, the unemployment rate has fallen in recent months, largely because a smaller proportion of Canadians are participating in the labour market. The labour force participation rate fell from 66.8% in November 2012 to 66.4% in November 2013.
Young workers in particular are struggling to enter the labour market, and more are falling out of the labour force. A broader measure of underemployment measuring involuntary part-time and discouraged workers puts unemployment for young workers at 17.2%.
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.
Web site: www.canadianlabour.ca
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