In January, Canada gained 43,000 jobs, almost all of them part-time. Any employment increase is certainly good news and some part-time positions might eventually become full-time positions.
The obvious limitation of part-time jobs is that they provide fewer hours of paid work and hence less income. Statistics Canadaâ€™s R-8 unemployment rate, which includes discouraged workers and a portion of those part-timers who would prefer full-time work, rose to 12.3% in January.
In addition to providing fewer hours, part-time jobs typically pay less per hour. The wage figures from todayâ€™s Labour Force Survey indicate an average hourly rate of only $15.71 for part-time jobs, compared to $24.18 for full-time jobs.
Over the past year, wages rose by just 1.4% among part-time workers versus 2.1% among full-time workers. Part-timers are also far less likely to receive non-wage benefits, such as dental or pension plans.
Employment declined in goods-producing industries, but increased more in the service sector. Perhaps reflecting this decline in predominantly male industries, employment fell among men over age 24. All of Januaryâ€™s net job gains were among youth and adult women.
UPDATE (February 6): Quoted in The Hamilton Spectator