Calm Before the Storm?
Today’s apparently rosy Labour Force Survey should not distract policy-makers from serious problems in Canada’s labour market. So far in 2008, full-time employment is down and unemployment is up.
Wanted: Full-Time Jobs
Total employment rose by 107,000 in September, far exceeding the modest uptick that one might have expected from temporary hiring by Elections Canada.
However, as Statistics Canada notes, almost all of the new jobs are part-time. In fact, full-time employment fell in six provinces: Newfoundland, PEI, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, and British Columbia.
In January 2008, there were 13,978,900 full-time jobs in Canada. By September 2008, this figure slid to 13,977,300.
Monthly unemployment increased dramatically in Ontario (7,800), Manitoba (4,300), Alberta (7,400), and British Columbia (7,500). The unemployment rate rose in all of these provinces.
However, a large decrease in Quebec unemployment (14,200) offset much of the increase elsewhere. National unemployment rose by 6,800 from August to September.
In January 2008, 1,050,600 Canadians were looking for work but could not find it. By September 2008, unemployment had increased to 1,119,300.
The rise in unemployment casts doubt on the viability of the new Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board’s minimal reserve fund.Â The Government of Canada should enhance Employment Insurance benefits to help the unemployed and stimulate the country’s slowing economy.