All Job Growth in Lowest-Paid Industry

My take on today’s Labour Force Survey follows:

Rising Unemployment

For a third consecutive month, more Canadians entered the labour market than found jobs, pushing the number of unemployed workers above 1.1 million for the first time since November 2006. In April, all of the modest increase in employment was self-employment. One must ask whether Canadians are becoming self-employed voluntarily or because they cannot find positions paid by an employer.

Goods-Producing Industries

In April, manufacturing lost 15,000 jobs. Since Canadian manufacturing employment peaked in November 2002, 378,000 manufacturing jobs have disappeared.

The loss of jobs in manufacturing and other goods-producing industries was largely offset by increased construction employment. However, the downward trend in building permits raises doubt as to whether construction will continue creating jobs.

Service Industries

All of April’s net employment creation occurred in accommodation and food services, by far the country’s lowest-paid industry. During 2007, hourly wages averaged $11.14 in accommodation and food services, compared to $19.13 in all industries combined. The concentration of employment growth in Canada’s lowest-paid industry raises questions about future job quality.

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