Part-Time Recovery

In January, Canada gained 43,000 jobs, almost all of them part-time. Any employment increase is certainly good news and some part-time positions might eventually become full-time positions.

The obvious limitation of part-time jobs is that they provide fewer hours of paid work and hence less income. Statistics Canada’s R-8 unemployment rate, which includes discouraged workers and a portion of those part-timers who would prefer full-time work, rose to 12.3% in January.

In addition to providing fewer hours, part-time jobs typically pay less per hour. The wage figures from today’s Labour Force Survey indicate an average hourly rate of only $15.71 for part-time jobs, compared to $24.18 for full-time jobs.

Over the past year, wages rose by just 1.4% among part-time workers versus 2.1% among full-time workers. Part-timers are also far less likely to receive non-wage benefits, such as dental or pension plans.

Other Notes

Employment declined in goods-producing industries, but increased more in the service sector. Perhaps reflecting this decline in predominantly male industries, employment fell among men over age 24. All of January’s net job gains were among youth and adult women.

UPDATE (February 6): Quoted in The Hamilton Spectator


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