More Jobs, Limited Paycheques
Novemberâ€™s 79,000 increase in employment combines a 32,000 decrease in self-employment with 111,000 additional positions paid by employers. This job creation is significant and welcome.
But there is still no indication of a sustained labour-market recovery. Todayâ€™s numbers may just continue the recent seesaw pattern in which employment is up one month and down the next.
Because Canadaâ€™s labour force also grew in November, impressive job growth barely dented unemployment. The number of officially unemployed workers declined by only 13,000. Although unemployment remained around 1.6 million, the unemployment rate edged down because this figure was divided by a larger total labour force.
Another important caveat is that a majority of the new employment was part-time as opposed to full-time. Indeed, for young workers (age 15 to 24) and adult men (age 25+), all of the new jobs were part-time.
This shift toward part-time employment was reflected by a decrease in the total number of hours worked. In October, Canadians worked a combined total of 544.8 million hours per week. In November, this figure sagged to 543.5 million.
Essentially, Novemberâ€™s reported job creation consisted of spreading slightly fewer total work hours among a larger number of workers. This development is positive in terms of providing employment to more people.
However, the decrease in work hours comes just as Statistics Canada reports the lowest average wage increase (2.3%) since March 2007. This combination of fewer hours and limited wages is squeezing the incomes of working Canadians.
Constrained incomes are also likely to limit consumer spending. With consumer spending unlikely to remerge anytime soon as a major driver of economic growth, robust government investment in public services and infrastructure will be needed to propel a recovery.