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The Progressive Economics Forum

A Part-Time, Do-It-Yourself Job Market

Statistics Canada reported that employment grew by 22,000 in November. But 20,000 of those new jobs were part-time. The proportion of all Canadian jobs that are part-time rose to an even 19%.

Broken down another way, 19,000 of the employment increase were people reporting themselves as self-employed. Canadian employers actually hired fewer than 3,000 additional employees last month.

Part-time work and self-reported self-employment kept the official unemployment rate just under 7% for a third consecutive month, but hardly suggest a vibrant job market.

The longer-term trend is still that Canadian employers are creating barely enough jobs to keep pace with population growth. Tellingly, the employment rate – the proportion of working-age Canadians who are employed – is lower today than a year ago.

The federal government should use the unspent billions in its budget to accelerate job-creating investments in public infrastructure and to improve Employment Insurance for the 1.3 million Canadians who remain unemployed.

UPDATE (Dec. 7): Quoted in today’s Nanaimo Daily News (A9), Okanagan Saturday (C6), Waterloo Region Record (C1), New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal (A1), Fredericton Daily Gleaner (D1), Truro Daily News (A16) and Cape Breton Post (B5) via Canadian Press as well as in today’s Regina Leader-Post (B1) and Saskatoon StarPhoenix (C1).

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Comments

Comment from Barry Rueger
Time: December 6, 2013, 5:22 pm

“19,000 of the employment increase were people reporting themselves as self-employed. ”

There’s a big story here that hasn’t been examined. An awful lot of those choosing self-employment aren’t doing it because of entrepreneurial zeal, but because there are literally no other jobs for them.

What many find is that their net income is smaller than expected, and that they will eventually miss such basic supports as extended health-care benefits, the employer contribution to CPP, and access to Unemployment Insurance.

Many of those who are being reported as “self-employed” would love to have a regular nine to five job, would love to have a decent and reliable take home pay, would love to see contributions going into a pension plan for their retirement, and would love to be able to take Stat holidays and annual vacations with their families.

What I would like to see are Unemployment figures that include people forced into creating their own jobs, and which include people who have simply given up looking for decent work, and which includes all of the people forced into dead-end service jobs.

Comment from Andrew
Time: December 7, 2013, 1:47 pm

ALL of the jobs created over the past year are sales and service jobs.

Comment from Paul Tulloch
Time: December 7, 2013, 3:19 pm

We have Kafkaesque like employment Statistics- if one examines a majority of key measures- many have not recovered much from the recession- and some have went into totally new terrain- which is pretty much the opposite of how the key measure presents the picture. Maybe one day soon when we open up the monthly employment report there will be a big picture of a large lawn slug slapping its belly- and then employment statistics will all make sense to us!

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