35,000 Manufacturing Jobs Gone in One Month
Manufacturing Crisis Deepens
Canada lost 35,000 manufacturing jobs between January and February. This staggering one-month decline pushes the cumulative loss to 250,000 since Canadian manufacturing peaked in November 2002.
Most of Februaryâ€™s devastating decline took place in Quebec, which lost 33,000 manufacturing jobs. In previous months, gains in western Canada offset losses in central Canada. However, Alberta lost a further 6,000 manufacturing jobs in February. Nova Scotia and British Columbia each lost fewer than 1,000 manufacturing jobs, while New Brunswick, Ontario and Manitoba each gained fewer than 1,000 jobs.
An increase in service-sector employment masked the ongoing manufacturing crisis. However, two-thirds of the new jobs created in February were self-employed position as opposed to paid positions. While the number of self-employed Canadians grew by more than 9,000, the number of employees rose by fewer than 5,000 nationwide.
Nationally, average hourly wages rose by 2.8% between February 2006 and February 2007. Outside of western Canada, this increase was only 1.8%, which barely exceeds inflation. Newfoundland and Labradorâ€™s average wage declined in absolute terms, even before taking account of inflation.
Unemployment: The Full Picture
In recent years, bank economists have emphasized the seemingly large number of jobs created and the unemployment rateâ€™s decline to a 30-year low. However, these national statistics mask the ongoing manufacturing crisis in central Canada. The February issue of Statistics Canadaâ€™s Canadian Economic Observer notes that, since 2000:
– Unemployment rates increased in Canadaâ€™s two largest cities: Toronto and Montreal;
– Ontarioâ€™s overall unemployment rate increased;
– Windsorâ€™s unemployment rate jumped dramatically from 5% to 9%; and
– The unemployment rates of Oshawa, Hamilton, St. Catharines-Niagara, London, and Thunder Bay rose less dramatically.
The national unemployment rate of about 6% emphasized by the Labour Force Survey excludes discouraged and underemployed workers. Calculations including these workers reveal a national rate of about 9%.
While national unemployment may have reached a 30-year low, the gap between rich and poor has reached a 30-year high. A study released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives this month reveals that:
– In 2004, the richest 10% of Canadian families received 82 times more income than the poorest 10% (this ratio is three times larger than in 1976);
– The richest 10% of families are earning significantly higher incomes than in 1996 without working more hours; and
– The remaining 90% of families are working an average of 200 more hours per year than in 1996 without earning appreciably more income.