Self-Employment Masks Job Loss
Statistics Canada reported today that employers cut the number of employees by 98,000 in August, which was largely masked by 87,000 more Canadians identifying themselves as self-employed. As a result, the headline level of â€œemploymentâ€ â€“ which includes self-employment â€“ was little changed.
Self-employment ranges from high-income professionals to people eking out a living doing odd jobs. However, when a large increase in self-employment coincides with a large drop in positions paid by an employer, it begs the question of whether Canadians are becoming self-employed by choice or because jobs are not available. One also wonders how many survey respondents are simply more comfortable reporting themselves as self-employed rather than unemployed.
The headline numbers are weak and they would be disastrous but for the surge in self-reported self-employment. Policymakers must focus on creating jobs and ensuring adequate benefits for jobless workers.