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.