“Real” Canadian Unemployment Rate Almost 12%.
Since October, 2008, the national unemployment rate has jumped sharply from 6.3% to 7.7% – driven entirely by job losses. The participation rate has fallen over the same period, from 67.8% to 67.4%. If this had not happened, the rise in the unemployment rate would have been even greater.
As well, we have seen a shift to part-time jobs. The proportion of the employed labour force working part-time rose from 18.6% to 19.0% between October and February. Part-time work is increasingly involuntary. Between February, 2008 and February, 2009, the proportion of part-timers saying they were in that status because of business conditions – as opposed to a preference for part-time hours – rose from 20.7% to 24.9%. (These data not available on a seasonally adjusted basis.)
Statistics Canada provides supplementary unemployment rates which take into account the fact that the headline national unemployment rate does not include:
Discouraged Workers â€“ unemployed workers who have stopped actively looking for work because they believe no jobs are available.
The Waiting Group â€“ unemployed workers not actively looking for work because they expect to return to work shortly
Involuntary Part-time Workers â€“ people working part-time who want to work full time. The supplementary rate counts the hours people wanted to work but were not able to do so.
The broadest measure of unemployment (R8) which includes all of these groups rose from 8.0% in October 2008 to 11.7% in February 2009 or almost one in eight Canadian workers. These data are not seasonally adjusted, but the â€œrealâ€ rate of unemployment was also up sharply compared to February 2008. (from 8.9% to 11.7%.)