More Jobs, But Fewer Hours

This morning, Statistics Canada reported that employment jumped by an incredible 93,200 in June. But the total number of hours worked actually declined. In effect, less work was divided up between more workers. (By contrast, a similar employment jump in April corresponded to a large increase in hours worked.)

Less Unemployment: A Central Canadian Story

The advantage of dividing less work among more workers is that it reduces unemployment. However, because the number of workers seeking employment also increased, 93,200 more jobs reduced total unemployment by only 31,200.

Furthermore, this welcome decrease in unemployment was entirely concentrated in three provinces: Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba. In the other seven provinces, both the absolute number of unemployed workers and the unemployment rate increased.

The New Jobs

Employment gains were evenly split between full-time and part-time work. There are 51,900 more private-sector employees, 25,600 more self-employed people, and 15,700 more public-sector employees.

Employment declined in goods-producing industries. All of the employment gains were in the service sector, especially retail and wholesale trade, support services and healthcare and social assistance.

Wages and Inflation

Perhaps reflecting job creation in lower-paid industries, wages were soft in June. Nationally, the average wage is up 1.7% over the past year, scarcely exceeding inflation (which was 1.4% in May).

Wages were anemic in Ontario and New Brunswick, rising only 0.8%, and almost completely flat in Alberta, edging up just 0.2%. Relative to inflation, workers in these provinces have taken a pay cut over the past year.

UPDATE (July 10): Quoted by CanWest, Canadian Press, The Toronto Star and Hamilton Spectator


  • The one point I would underline is that more than half the gains came from self-employment and part-time work, and mainly from within some softer downstream service sector sectors. Again it is a report that I would not hang up there as somekind of move towards a massive recovery, however, it is overall positive.

    I think an examination of those entering the labour market would be quite telling.

    I am writing a report on global employment and the long term unemployed, some interesting work that was presented to the Joint Economic Committee to the US Congress. In particular Larry Katz. That and the work of the CAW on their recent study of workers displaced, along with some pretty good work out of Berkley on global unemployment, are some interesting sources. In particular I am looking into the precariousness of work for those losing a high quality jobs and are either long term unemployed or are now under employed

    I do think it is pretty accommodating that in the US a special Joint Committee was set up and each week a Special report is released on the employment situation. A national round table taking a quite extensive look into each months employment results.


  • Thanks for this, Erin. I count on your team to clarify the “spin-meisters” of the MSM.

    No surprise that none of these details were mentioned in the “U-rah-rah” of the newscasts today . . . .

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