Canada needs a new plan to create jobs – good jobs.

October 10, 2014

The Conservative government likes to talk about “one million net new jobs” as proof of its ability to manage the economy. But a quick look at the facts reveals something closer to the reality Canadians are dealing with today.

Despite the government’s rhetoric, Canada is currently 600,000 jobs short of where it should be to catch up to its pre-recession employment rate. To catch up, our economy needs to create 73,000 new jobs every month for the next year. Over the past year, the economy added 13,000 new jobs each month. That’s less than one-fifth of what we need.

Last month, 74,000 jobs were added, 526,000 short of what we needed to get closer to full recovery and leaving 1.3 million Canadians who want to work without a job.

While the government is content to repeat its talking points, we think its time for a different, more hands-on approach to job creation, one that’s driven by the facts and based on the reality of people’s lives.

Canada added an encouraging number of jobs in September, lowering the unemployment rate to 6.8%, the lowest it’s been since the 2008 recession ended. However, we would need to add this many jobs each month for the next year in order to catch up to the pre-recession employment rate. Over the past year the labour market has only added 13,000 jobs per month, a far cry from where we need to be.

Another question is the quality of jobs. The majority of jobs were added in accommodation and food services, a notoriously low paid and precarious sector. On the other hand, we lost 15,000 professional, scientific, and technical services positions in September. Adjusted for inflation, the average weekly wage rate fell slightly this September, compared to last year.

Even though the unemployment rate fell to 6.8%, the underemployment rate remained little changed at 13% for September 2014. The underemployment rate for young workers was 25.6% for September 2014, an increase of 0.4 percentage points over September 2013.

Compared to last September, employment for recent immigrants (less than 5 years) fell by 6,000, as the total number of jobs increased by nearly 130,000 (not seasonally adjusted). The unemployment rate for recent immigrants (less than 5 years) stood at 13.7%, compared to 6.5% for Canadian born workers.

This month’s release shows that the number and quality of jobs are not available for Canadian workers, and some groups continue to be left out.