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The Progressive Economics Forum

Labour market musings

Just a short post ahead of the job numbers that come out from Statistics Canada tomorrow. Five years after the end of the last recession, and Canada’s labour market is still limping along. And it seems to have taken a turn for the worse recently.

While the Conservative government crows about one million net new jobs, they conveniently forget to mention that we would need to add another 880,000 new jobs to the Canadian economy to catch up to our pre-recession employment rate.

On average, that’s about 73,000 jobs per month, every month, for a whole year. This is unlikely to happen given our current job creation trends. Over the past year, we’ve added fewer than 7,000 jobs per month, which is only about one-tenth of what we need to put unemployed Canadians back to work.


And as we always hear, demographics matter. Here’s what that chart looks like for men and women between the ages of 15 and 64.


We’re short 300,000 full-time jobs for workers 15-64. In other words, in order for the employment rate of working age Canadians to return to its pre-recession level, we need to add 300,000 full-time jobs in that age category.

That’s half the number of jobs that went missing in the depth of the recession, but double where we were a year and half ago. The situation is getting worse, not better.



Another issue of growing concern is the continued high rate of long term unemployed workers (highlighted by today’s PBO report on EI).

CANSIM Table: 282-0047

CANSIM Table: 282-0047

Just a few things to keep in mind when you’re reading the labour market analysis tomorrow, whatever the monthly numbers say.

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