Today’s Job Numbers
There is good news today, but ample reason for caution looking ahead
Canada’s job market continues to surprise. Despite a strong drop in economic growth in late 2007 and recognition this week from the Bank of Canada that a US downturn will spill over into Canada, employment rose by 43,000 last month and the unemployment rate held steady at 5.8%. Most of the new jobs were as full-time employees, and real wages are on the rise.
While most of the news is good, manufacturing employment fell by 24,000 – and there is daily news of more layoffs and closures which will hit in the coming months. Youth unemployment rose from 11.2% to 11.4%, and the proportion of women over 25 working part-time rose from 21.0 to 21.3%.
Part of the explanation for good news is the growth of public sector jobs, up 12,000 last month , and up 87,000 over the past year. Reinvestment in public and social services is helping offset some of the weakness in the private sector, especially for women.
Continued strength in construction is surprising, and unlikely to continue if we do not make major investments in environmental infrastructure as the housing boom slows down.
The bottom-line is that the disconnect between a slowing economy and a seemingly strong job market will not continue for long – so we will have to ensure that other sectors pick up the slack as the US economy slows down.