Labour Market Stalls

Canada’s job market stalled in May. Employment edged up by 7,700, almost all of it part-time. In fact, the number of employees paid by Canadian employers fell by 15,600. Total “employment” rose only because 23,300 more Canadians reported themselves as self-employed.

Over the past year, employment has grown slightly less than the labour force, leaving 1.4 million Canadians officially unemployed. The participation and employment rates remain unchanged:

The economy is not creating enough jobs to get unemployed Canadians back to work. The federal government is aggravating this problem by making it easier for employers to import temporary foreign workers and more difficult for unemployed Canadians to access Employment Insurance.

There are a couple of bright spots in today’s numbers. Manufacturing employment increased by 36,400 in May, continuing a welcome recovery in that sector. Over the past year, Canada’s average hourly wage increased by a solid 3%. Even in Ontario, it rose by 2.8%.

BC and Saskatchewan were notable exceptions to both positive trends, losing 2,900 and 200 manufacturing jobs respectively in May. Average hourly wages rose by only 1.1% in BC and 2.6% in Saskatchewan over the past year. Workers fell behind the cost of living in BC and barely kept pace with it in Saskatchewan.

UPDATE (June 9): Quoted by the Regina Leader-Post (page A1), Saskatoon StarPhoenix (page B1) and Toronto Star website

3 comments

  • Francis Fuller

    We need to index M.P. pay and pensions to some measure of public welfare.

    If unemployment rises to 8% then all M.P. compensation drops by the difference between the unemployment rate and the accepted “base” rate of unemployment which I believe is around 4%.

    If the unemployment continues at the same rate then the impact on M.P. compensation doubles so that there is a further 8% reduction. If no change in the subsequent period then there is a further doubling . The exact nature of the proposed relationship needs to be worked out but you get the idea.

    What ould be likely is that a prolonged period of high unemployment would result in MPs having zero compensation. I suspect that many would leave politics well before that point. This would bring about forced by-elections which would likely have the result of introducing MPs with better ideas or more responsive to the needs of Canadians.

    It is completely unacceptable to have a legislative body in Ottawa which passes legislation that has negative impact on all Canadians without them bearing some degree of responsibilty for their actions.

    Such a requirement would make the M.Ps pay close attention to issues that affect their constituents and/or give them an incentive to break with party discipline and react against autocratic control freaks who insist on causing as much destruction as they can to the Canadian social fabric.

  • Francis wrote:

    “It is completely unacceptable to have a legislative body in Ottawa which passes legislation that has negative impact on all Canadians”

    I don’t see business-owners getting restive. They’re quite fat and happy with the Conservatives’ assault on workers.

  • Looking inside the wage data referenced by Erin, an unexpected result is that non union wages rose by a full point more than unionized wages in the past year.

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