Job Recovery Remains Stalled
Todayâ€™s job numbers underscore the need for a federal Budget to create jobs rather than destroy jobs.
The overall picture since September of last year has been one of job losses, a decline in the quality of jobs, and falling real wages. The recovery in the job market has stalled and gone into reverse.
The national unemployment rate fell from 7.6% to 7.4% in February, but only because 38,000 Canadians gave up looking for work.
Total employment fell by 3,000, and we lost 15,000 paid jobs, offset by a rise in self-employment which usually provides much lower earnings.
Early signs of the impact of government spending cuts on jobs were apparent in 15,000 lost public administration jobs last month. Another 22,000 jobs were cut in health and social services. This is happening before the job market is impacted by expected deep cuts in federal and provincial Budgets later this month.
There was a significant jump in the youth unemployment rate from 14.5% to 14.7%, and this increase would have been even higher if not for many young workers leaving the labour force. Meanwhile, employment increased for older workers.
Real wages are continuing to fall. Average hourly earnings are up just 2.0% over the past year, well below the 2.5% inflation rate in January.
(Hat’s off to Statscan. Starting next month, the labour force survey will be released at 8.30 am instead of 7 am. So data geeks like Erin and myself will get to sleep in a little longer. )
My colleague Angella McEwen dug a little deeper into the Ontario numbers highlighted by Erin.
30,000 persons dropped out of the labour force in the Toronto CMA last month, three quarters of the Ontario total.
11,700 Ontario public sector jobs were lost in February.
The Ontario average hourly wage was up by just 1.7% over the past year.
And that’s before we even saw the Drummond Report!