August job numbers: Employment growth missing in action

September 4, 2015

Job numbers released by Statistics Canada today show underwhelming employment growth and a stagnant labour market, signaling once again the need for a new government with a new direction.

August saw the unemployment rate up from 6.8 to 7.0 percent, back to where it was a year ago. Over the last three months, employment growth has averaged just 4,000 jobs per month, down from the 20,000 monthly average earlier in the year.

There was also a significant increase in the number of unemployed – up 40,000 – as more entered the labour force looking for work, only to find no jobs available.

“The Conservative government kept telling us there wasn’t a recession and talking about employment growth, but we know that economic recovery is still weak and that the convincing job growth they promised is still missing in action,” said CLC president Hassan Yussuff.

Yussuff said numbers in Ontario, where expectations were high, that industry – especially manufacturing – would benefit from a lower dollar, are especially disappointing. The unemployment rate in that province jumped from 6.4 to 6.8 percent as 30,000 more people were unemployed and looking for work in August. At the same time, employment fell.

“We are headed in the wrong direction precisely where we shouldn’t be,” said Yussuff.

“Ontario was supposed to become the engine of economic expansion and employment growth, but instead we see a big spike in the number of unemployed and a drop in the overall number of jobs available,” he added.

Manufacturing lost jobs for the third straight month and employment in the industry is up only slightly from last December. Construction employment is down from 12 months ago and significantly (2.1 percent) lower than last December.

“We need a new government in Ottawa, one that recognizes that workers are our strongest competitive advantage,” said Yussuff.

The CLC has called for commitments to expedited large scale investments in infrastructure like green transit, a move that would boost manufacturing, lift business confidence and spark growth.

Investment in public transit for municipalities, for example, would create thousands of local jobs in manufacturing and construction, and boost ridership.

“Canada has a long history of manufacturing high quality transit equipment, so let’s get this going and create the jobs we need,” said Yussuff.

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