The Canadian job market still looks grim, according to a report by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). The organization says there is widespread misperception that the Canadian job market has recovered from the recession.
The spring edition of the organization’s bulletin looks at employment rates prior to the 2008 recession and where those rates currently stand today. In October 2008, the national unemployment rate was 6.2 per cent; as of last month, the rate was sitting at 7.8 per cent. In its March budget, the Department of Finance expects the unemployment rate to stay at 7.0 per cent or slightly better.
The younger workforce has been hit the hardest, according to the report. The number of workers aged 55 and over has surpassed the number of young workers for the first time in three years. In February 2011, there was an increase of 12.4 per cent in the 55 and older work force, when compared to October 2008 rates. In comparison, the 15 to 24-year-old employment rate has fallen 6.9 per cent since the recession began.
The CLC points out that the jobs created post-recession have mostly been temporary. Between October 2008 and February 2011, the number of employees having temporary work increased by 203,000. In contrast, the number of permanently employed workers was down by 67,600.
The report says that job creation is being concentrated in three industries: construction, professional services and healthcare. There were 245,600 jobs created in those areas, of the 482,400 jobs created between July 2009 and February 2011.
The CLC report says that the federal government needs to focus investment in infrastructure, building retrofits, public transit, and child and elder care, rather than eliminating the fiscal deficit. Canadians need to remember that there are still 30 per cent more Canadians out of work today than before the recession and that many of them have been unemployed for a long time, the CLC stresses.