Today’s Job Numbers
Overall, there was little change in overall labour market conditions in December. The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.6% as a modest total of 22,000 new jobs were created.
While the total number of persons working has risen above pre recession levels, the national employment rate (the proportion of the working age population with jobs) is still well below the pre recession level. (61.8% compared to 63.6%.) Moreover, many of the jobs created in the recovery have been part-time and temporary.
Looking a bit deeper into the December numbers, there is a mix of good news and bad news.
The good news is that there was a big increase in manufacturing employment, up by a very strong 66,000. This resulted in a significant increase in full-time employees. Whether this trend will continue given that the Canadian dollar is now trading above parity remains in question.
The bad news is that there were major job losses in the broader public sector. 24,000 jobs were lost in health and social services, and another 10,000 jobs in education. This could mark the beginning of a public sector recession as the federal and provincial governments wind up their stimulus programs and turn to policies of austerity.
There were also clear signs of a slowdown in the housing sector, with construction employment down by 27,000.
The youth unemployment rate rose from 13.6% to 13.8% in December as more young people searched for jobs.