After five months of job gains, the job market turned dismal in January. Officially, the unemployment rate fell from 7.1% to 7.0%, the lowest it’s been since December 2008. This is despite a loss of 45,800 jobs (not counting self-employment). The explanation is an out flux of discouraged workers from the labour market, which caused the ‘real’ unemployment rate (R8) to jump from 9.4% to 10.7%.
Gains in self-employment masked the job losses, as there was an increase of nearly 24,000 self-employed persons in January, for an official loss of 22,000, nearly all in full-time positions. Ontario suffered the worst losses in employment and labour market participation, losing 39,000 employees and gaining only 8,000 self-employed persons. All of Ontario’s job losses were in full-time positions.
As we approach the 2013 Federal budget, we need to push for public investments in infrastructure and training that will lead to good jobs and increased productivity. This is the worst time to be blaming the unemployed for the lack of jobs. This government talks a lot about jobs and growth, now it’s time to do something about it.
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