Job Market Stalls

In recent months, Canada’s job numbers seemed a little too good to be true. Today’s Labour Force Survey paints a more sobering picture.

Employment was somewhat lower in July, among both employees and the self-employed. Far more significant than the overall decline in employment was the replacement of 139,000 full-time positions with 129,700 part-time positions. The revelation that so many existing jobs are part-time may help explain why total work hours decreased even as employment rose in June.

The modest employment loss, combined with modest labour force growth, increased unemployment by 17,900. July’s increase in unemployment was mostly concentrated in central Canada, which had posted lower unemployment in June.

Total unemployment is now even closer to 1.5 million. The continuation of high unemployment underscores the need to renew the five-week extension of Employment Insurance benefits, which is set to expire in September.

Manufacturing was the bright spot in today’s numbers. It gained 28,500 jobs, the most of any sector. Total manufacturing employment is now slightly higher than it had been a year ago.


  • Is the rise in part-time employment normal for the summer? Student jobs etc…

  • Statistics Canada adjusts the numbers in an effort to factor out such seasonal changes.

  • Something weird happening with the full time/ part time this month. A bump that I would have thought needed a good long look at before release. Where are we on part-time trend?

    I can imagine what the unadjusted was.

  • There might have been an unusual shift from full time to part time in education over and above the normal seasonal adjustment factor.

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