A Good Month Leaves Us Well Short of a Recovery

Today’s job numbers for March are much stronger than they have been since last September. Job creation was very strong – up 82,300 in the month, with 70,000 of those positions being full-time. The national unemployment rate fell from 7.4% to 7.2%, the level it was at last September. The youth unemployment rate also fell sharply, from 14.7% to 13.9%.

The new jobs were concentrated in hard-hit central Canada, and included a modest job gain of 11,800 in manufacturing.

Jobs were divided between private sector employees (up 42,600); self-employment (up 18,800); and public sector employees (up 20,900.)

While all of this is welcome news, the employment rate (the proportion of the working age population holding a job) has still not recovered to the level of last September (61.8% compared to 62.0%) and still remains well below the pre 2008 recession level of 63.6%. On top of the 1.4 million unemployed, many Canadians have dropped out of the workforce.

Another sign of a still soft job market is that the year over year increase in average hourly wages is, at 2.5%, just matching the rate of inflation.

The job numbers for March also come before we begin to feel the impacts of the austerity Budgets being introduced by the federal and many provincial governments.

In short, March was a good month, but it is far from clear that we will see the sustained improvement in the job market needed to get us back to where we were before the 2008 recession.


  • One point of optimism, and you better take a picture here as I am never that optimistic, is the auto sector. There seems to be some substantive growth in sales in the USA, which has got to bode well for central Canada.

    However, i have yet to hear of much hiring in the canadian auto sextor, potentially Jimbo can verify.

    Now for some pessimism. Where in the world did all these jobs come from? It seems to be a strange report, potentially we have some seasonal adjustment related errors here similar to what many suspected in the USA earlier in the year. I just do not see this surveyed jobs growth mirroring reality of the shop floor.

    Second tangent of pessimism, the USA lead recovery that many point to, may actually be short lived due to the pull downward of the housing sector. The Shiller index is still way down, and home values have still not stabilized. Foreclosures are still high and prices still not in a territory to provide for backing of consumer demand increases required for growth.

  • Could it be doctored?

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