A Breakdown of the Job Losses

Further to Angella’s post, after two months of treading water, Canada lost 30,000 jobs in July. The increase in unemployment was limited to 22,000 only because 8,000 people abandoned the labour force and are no longer counted as unemployed.

Regional Breakdown

Most of the job losses were in Quebec and BC, which could weaken those provincial governments as they head into elections. Newfoundland and Labrador suffered the largest proportional decline. Employment was relatively flat in other provinces.

Sectoral Breakdown

The largest job loss was in retail and wholesale trade, which was down by 30,000.

The second-largest loss was 22,000 jobs from professional, scientific and technical services, the highest-paid segment of the service sector. (In 2011, the average hourly wage in professional, scientific and technical services was $27.47 compared to $21.75 across all industries.)

The third-largest loss was in manufacturing, which had been recovering jobs in recent months but eliminated 18,000 positions in July.

The largest proportional decline was in natural-resource extraction, which lost 9,000 jobs – 2.4% of the sector’s previous workforce.

Of course, gains in some other industries partially offset these losses.

Policy Implications

The weak labour market should prompt governments to focus on job creation rather than austerity. For unemployed Canadians, the federal government should strengthen Employment Insurance rather than further restricting it.

UPDATE (August 11): Quoted in The Hamilton Spectator (page T7)

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