January marks highest monthly employment decline on record

Today’s Statistics Canada release of January employment numbers reveals staggering job losses:

Employment fell by 129,000 in January (-0.8%), almost all in full time, pushing the unemployment rate up 0.6 percentage points to 7.2%. This drop in employment exceeds any monthly decline during the previous economic downturns of the 1980s and 1990s.

More jobs were lost in January than in November and December 2008 combined, when the economy shed 105,000 jobs (again mostly full-time). January’s employment drop is more than triple what the private sector forecasters expected (40,000) and comes to over one third of TD Canada’s recent projection of 325,000 job losses in 2009. With unemployment currently at 7.2%, it seems likely that we will reach 8% much sooner than the end of the year. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if we got there by the end of the first quarter.

This is as strong an indication as any that we are in for a much tougher recession than what private sector forecasters are anticipating and that the week-old stimulus package contained in the Federal Budget is far short of what is needed. Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page has already questioned the size of the stimulus and is quoted in this Globe and Mail article saying that the Tory stimulus package is likely to create 120,000 jobs rather than the advertised 189,000. That’s fewer jobs than were already lost in the first month of this year!

It’s time to see Mr Flaherty live up to his budget-day commitment to “do whatever is necessary” as the recession deepens fast.


  • It was a dismal month. One could only imagine the reaction if all those workers who are on temporary layoff in the auto sector were included in those numbers.

    I am pretty sure those temp lay offs in auto will be reflected in the payroll numbers of SEPH in the next couple releases.

    Hopefully those temp layoffs will not turn into long term. Chrysler idled another plant today.

    We need to start taking on this whole, manufacturing is dead spiel. It is only dead if we let it. Oddly enough we do not hear the traditional, manufacturing is dead because we cannot compete with off shore markets.

    This time around, manufacturing is dead because of over capacity. You can bet that those plants idled will come back with a lot smaller employment numbers.

    We will now start witnessing the upstream and downstream employment adjustments from the reduction in the economic base, so fasten your LFS seatbelts and put on your SEPH hard hats, the numbers are going to be getting even uglier.

    I did a rough comparison of monthly employments movements between Canada and the US over the past year. For some reason we had a blip in the late summer and fall. Which was quite contrary to the US, hmmmm, I wonder what happened during that timeframe to account for these dramatic differences.

    As it seems as though we are right in course with the BLS numbers.

  • the power of numbers- it is an amazing spectacle watching the reaction by the media to yesterday’s numbers.

    I wonder how it translated to the population. I am sure it was not news to many in certain sectors. Why it has taken so long to get the picture has been a political football that the Harperites have been doing quite well with.

    That is until yesterday. When you think about how long it has been that progressives have been sounding the siren, especially for the manufacturing and forestry sector, it really is a frustrating process.

    How can it be that a party could be elected that until 3 months ago had won an election on the platform that the economic fundamentals are just fine. And somehow, with all the civil service and public officials in this country that monitor the economy, did not challenge this rhetoric.

    How can we even remotely affix a democratic notion to this absolutely inexcusable economic cover up. With the resources allocated to monitoring, and policy, one would think that some notion of rationality might somehow, even by accident, sink a bit further into the economic, apparently, transparent policy apparatus of our governments.

    There is just no denying that the economy has been in trouble for the last 2 years and by delaying and delaying any formall acceptance that something was seriously wrong has now cost us so so much.

    Yet here we are, and even now, amidst such outstanding declines in many indicators, we still have the tories and their bank economists clinging to the notion that it’s not all that bad.

    Yes, I do believe we will be seeing the back of Harper’s head soon.

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