OTTAWA ― The Canadian Labour Congress says that, despite the rosy picture painted by Conservative politicians, millions of Canadians cannot find full time jobs that pays decently.
CLC President Ken Georgetti was responding to the release by Statistics Canada of its labour force survey for January 2014. “I am very concerned about the number and quality of jobs that have been created in Canada since the Great Recession and the news is not good,” Georgetti says. “The Finance Minister and other government keep trying to claim they have kept up in creating jobs but in fact the record over the years is quite dismal. The skills of Canadian workers are being under-utilized.”
Statistics Canada estimates that there were 1,333,200 Canadians unemployed in January but Georgetti says those numbers do not tell the real story. “You have to add to that the number of people working in poorly-paid, part-time jobs who would like to be employed full-time. Add also the number of people who have become so discouraged that they have given up looking for work. When you do that, you find that there were close to 2.8 million Canadians who were not able to participate fully in the workforce in 2013. This is a great waste of talent and skill.”
The jobs that have been recovered since the recession of 2008-09 are disproportionately part-time and precarious. Part-time jobs grew at twice the rate of full-time jobs, and account for 40% of the job growth between 2008 and 2013. Part-time positions make up 19% of all jobs. All of the growth in part-time jobs was involuntary, where job seekers are looking for full-time work but can only find part-time hours. Over 20% of all jobs are low wage, and the minimum wage hasn’t kept pace with inflation in most provinces. The ranks of the working poor in Canada are increasing.
Georgetti says that the number of people who can’t find secure work has increased during the years that coincide with the government’s tax giveaways to corporations. “Good, family-supporting jobs are the key to Canada’s economic success and corporate tax cuts aren’t delivering. In fact, corporate tax cuts have delivered nothing, except windfall profits to corporations that haven’t benefited Canadians who paid for them.”
Georgetti adds, “I get letters all the time from people who can’t find decent work and from parents whose kids can’t find work at all. But much of this is not reflected in the official unemployment statistics every month. That’s not fair to the workers and their families.”
Quick Analysis from CLC Chief Economist Sylvain Schetagne
The labour market is weaker than one might think from today’s job numbers. After a drop of 46,000 jobs in December 2013, employment rose by 29,400 in January 2014, so that the job losses in December were not recovered in January. The unemployment rate declined to 7.0%, in part because the number of Canadians active in the labour market has declined by 20,900. Many discouraged people left the job market after being unable to find decent jobs. Almost all of the job growth in January 2014 took place among the self-employed, with an addition of 28,300 jobs. Underemployment, which includes unemployed workers, those unable to secure full-time work and those who are discouraged from looking, has not declined significantly in the past year. In 2013, 14.4%, or 2.8 million workers were unemployed or underemployed. In fact, the number of jobs created in the last year was not enough to absorb population growth. Both the percentage of the working age population with a job and the percentage of the population active in the labour market declined by 0.3% in the last 12 months. Finally, government austerity measures are hurting job creation. There were 16,000 fewer jobs in public administration in January 2014, and a loss of 57,500 (-5.9%) in the last twelve months.
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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