Jobs, Economy and Environment

May job numbers: Canada must change course to fight unemployment and fuel the economy

June 5, 2015

May’s job numbers show little promise that Canada’s epidemic of inadequate job growth and predominantly precarious employment will change without a change in direction.

Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey says May saw the creation of 59,000 jobs, but almost half were part-time. Compared to last month, temporary employment increased twice as fast as permanent employment.

“We aren’t seeing a meaningful reduction in unemployment – instead we have very weak job growth that is barely keeping up with the number of people entering the workforce,” said CLC president Hassan Yussuff.

The weak job creation barely keeps up with the number of people entering the workforce, leaving the unemployment rate at 6.8 per cent, up from 6.6 per cent last October.

Yussuff says the trend does not point to the recovery being promised by government, especially given the contraction of US and Canadian economies in the first quarter of 2015.

“The government needs to change course or we’ll just keep seeing more of the same – the weak and patchy creation of insecure and precarious jobs,” said Yussuff.

“We need the government to invest in ways that create quality, full-time and secure jobs – jobs that can fuel the economy,” he added.

Nearly three quarters of the jobs created in Canada over the past six years have been precarious – part-time, temporary or in the self-employed sector. Nearly a million Canadians have to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet.

The impact is most apparent among younger Canadians, who continue to struggle with double the national unemployment rate. Employment growth for 15-24 year olds in May remained very weak and well behind job growth for core-age workers.  At 13.2 per cent, the unemployment rate for youth is stuck at levels seen in the summer of 2013.

May’s job growth was concentrated in Ontario while other regions saw no job growth or losses in employment.

“Instead of banking on the price of oil, and relying on tax cuts to drive economic activity, let’s find a better choice,” said Yussuff.

The CLC has called on the government to create the quality, full-time and secure jobs Canadians need, for example:

  • investing in jobs and training for health care professionals, to better prepare for our aging population and the demands that will place on the health care system
  • investing in rapid transit for municipalities and create thousands of local jobs in manufacturing and construction, while also boosting ridership.
  • reinvesting in infrastructure and in public services, such as new waste water systems for our cities, or much-needed federal services for our veterans and seniors.

“Investment in people and the communities they live in – not just resource extraction – is a better choice for Canadians and the economy,” said Yussuff.


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