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The Progressive Economics Forum

Record-Low Manufacturing Employment

Today’s Labour Force Survey indicates that the seemingly robust economic growth reported by Statistics Canada earlier this week is not translating into improved job prospects for Canadian workers.

For the second consecutive month, employment is down and unemployment is up. (By contrast, the situation improved south of the border.)

Manufacturing: Another Record Low

Although overall employment in goods-producing industries rose (mostly due to construction), manufacturing employment declined again. Canadian manufacturing has lost 627,000 jobs over the past nine years.

That loss exceeds the total labour force employed in all industries in six of ten provinces. (For example, Manitoba’s total employment is 624,500.)

Manufacturing employment now stands at 1.7 million, the lowest level ever recorded by the Labour Force Survey (which goes back to 1976).

Sluggish Wages

For those who have jobs, wages are not keeping up with the cost of living. Statistics Canada reports that average hourly wages rose by 2.4% over the past year, less than 3% inflation (although we do not yet have Consumer Price Index figures for November).

Death of a Talking Point

The Saskatchewan Party government was just re-elected touting the “lowest unemployment rate in Canada.” Today’s report indicates that the unemployment rate is higher in Saskatchewan than in Alberta.

UPDATE (December 2): Interviewed on BNN

UPDATE (December 3): Quoted by The Toronto Star, Hamilton Spectator, Financial Post and CBC.

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Comments

Comment from Anonymouse
Time: December 2, 2011, 9:35 am

The Reformers are transforming Canada into a petro-state. High oil prices increase bitumen exports which increases the dollar which, in turn, reduces manufacturing exports of other industries. The fact that manufacturing jobs are disappearing is not a surprise.

Ripping up the boreal forest, destroying the Canadian economy, increasing carbon emissions by processing bitumen – all for the sake of short term jobs in Alberta and votes for Reformers – does not make much sense.

We need a comprehensive energy and economic plan for all of Canada if we’re interested in keeping the country.

Comment from worker
Time: January 13, 2012, 6:36 pm

It makes no sense to destroy the oil industry to make manufacturers feel better. It was largely Alberta oil money that bailed out the CAW after GM & Chrysler went bankrupt.Yes, high exports increase our dollar, but that is a back-door raise – allowing greater purchasing power of imports. If Canadian workers are not competitive with workers in the US, accept reduced pay in dollars that buy more.

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