Employment growth continues to lag five years after the economy began to shed jobs in the recession that began in the fall of 2008, according to Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).
"The number of new jobs is not keeping up with population growth and, as a result, too many people are being forced into precarious work and highly unstable self-employment," he said. "That is causing hardship and anxiety for Canadians and especially for younger families."
There were 1,325,000 unemployed Canadians in September and the overall unemployment rate was 6.9 per cent, according to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey for September 2013, said Georgetti. The drop in the unemployment rate was entirely due to 21,000 young workers exiting the labour market.
In the 15 to 24 age group, official unemployment stood at 12.9 per cent, a decrease from 14.1 per cent in August. Fully 47.8 per cent of young workers were employed part-time in September, compared to 47.4 per cent in August.
“We are told by the finance minister that we're doing well in job creation," said Georgetti. "If that is so, then why is today's unemployment rate 6.9 per cent, when in September 2008 it was at 6.2 per cent?"
Ottawa should use its throne speech this month to signal an intention to assist in job creation and training, he said.
"We badly need to improve or replace physical infrastructure such as roads and bridges. We could also create jobs if we had programs to retrofit houses and offices to make them more energy-efficient. We should be investing in good quality social services. We have unemployed people who would gladly take these jobs."
In September there was a big drop in the number of young workers looking for work, as more than 21,000 exited the labour market and another 22,000 were engaged in full-time employment, according to CLC senior economist Angella MacEwen. As a result the overall unemployment rate fell, even though the rate for workers over 25 remained steady.
And while 21,000 young workers were no longer considered unemployed in September 2013, 185,000 of them wanted work but were no longer working — an increase of 20,000 over September 2012.
Since September 2008, the Canadian labour force has grown by 818,000 but the Canadian economy only added 618,000 jobs over the same time period, said MacEwen. As a result, the employment rate, or the percentage of working-age adults in employment, has not improved significantly since early 2009 when it fell below 62 per cent.
Since September 2008, 40 per cent of new jobs created were temporary employment, mostly term or contract positions. The proportion of part-time workers who want full-time work increased from 20 per cent in September 2008 to 26 per cent in September 2013.
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