Did you hear about the massive job losses that were reported last week?
I heard headlines after headline from all kinds of broadcasters on radio and TV about the great news that Canada added jobs for for the ninth straight month. Sounds great, as long as you don’t dig deeper.
The truth is Canada lost 88,000 full-time jobs last month according to Stats Canada and was only able to say that jobs were added because there were so many part time jobs added.
An increase in the number of people working part time (+110,000) was mostly offset by a decline in the number of people employed full time (-88,000),” the monthly Labour Force Survey states.
Stats Canada, and most of the media, ignored this big drop and focussed on the gains saying that most of the losses were among young people, so no biggie right?
Not if you are a young person trying to get a job.
While the national unemployment rate dropped to a nine year low of 6.2%, the youth unemployment rate rose from 11.1% to 11.5%.
Digging deeper into the numbers you find that 65,500 full-time jobs that were held by young people aged 15-24 disappeared in August, before the return to school. That isn’t good news.
Neither is it good news that women over the age of 25 saw 39,300 full-time jobs disappear.
I covered the job losses during the 2008-09 financial system meltdown and was a regular fixture at the Stats Can release of the jobless numbers. During the darkest days of that meltdown men lost job at an incredibly fast pace while employment for women was comparatively stable.
So what about now?
I asked Statistics Canada when was the last time they recorded a full-time job loss of 88,000 or more. The answer? July 2010 while the biggest recession since the Great Depression was still going on. That month the Labour Force Survey says we lost 139,000 jobs.
Last Friday’s report marked the biggest drop in full-time employment in more than 7 years, the biggest drop since the depths of the recession and the media played it as if nothing was wrong, everything was coming up roses in fact.
“Canadian job gains beat expectations in August,” read The Globe and Mail headline.
“Canada’s jobless rate hasn’t been this low since before the financial crisis,” said the Financial Post via Canadian Press.
CBC celebrated the jobs added, “Canada added 22,000 jobs last month, jobless rate ticks down to 6.2%”
While Global pointed out that Ontario drove the job growth, “Ontario drives Canada’s jobs gains in August, unemployment lowest in 9 years.”
So what do the raw numbers say?
According to Stats Can, Ontario lost 26,300 full-time jobs and added 57,500 part-time jobs. Quebec lost 27,700 full-time jobs and added 21,600 part-time jobs. British Columbia lost 28,600 full-time jobs and added 27,400 part-time.
Also losing full-time jobs were Saskatchewan with 1,200 lost, Manitoba -4,900, New Brunswick -1,700, Nova Scotia -7,900, PEI – 200.
Aren’t these jobs worth talking about?
In fairness, the media outlets mentioned above all mentioned the losses but then glossed over them with little analysis and little concern that the only reason we can say that employment is up this past month is due to part-time work.
All I can say is that if 88,000 jobs were lost while Stephen Harper or any other Conservative were in power, the story would not have been nine months of gains, it would have been the weak job market.
Canada’s economy is humming along right now but these numbers are a worrying sign. I’ve been warning about headwinds for sometime.
Rising interest rates, increases in payroll taxes like CPP and EI, increases in the minimum wage, a price on carbon, the rising dollar, all of these are problems that sit on the horizon for the Canadian economy and in the future I expect to see more more job numbers like the one we saw on Friday.
The question is will we hear about it from the mainstream media?