The Broadbent Blog


Broadbent Institute reacts to January Labour Force Report

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Statistics Canada released Friday Canada's January Labour Force numbers, showing Canada's job market remains mired in a weak recovery.

On the surface, the labour force numbers look alright. The national unemployment rate fell from 7.2% to 7.0%, and employment rose by 29,000, all in full-time employment.

However, the employment rate (the proportion of the working age population with a job) was unchanged at 61.6%, and the unemployment rate fell mainly because of a decline in the number of persons seeking work.

Notably, almost all of the job gains in January were in self-employment, which is often low paid and insecure. The number of private sector employees actually fell by 14,000 in the month.

Put it all together, the job market still looks pretty soft and is still much weaker than before the 2008-09 recession.

Compared to 2008, the employment rate is 1.9 percentage points lower.

Most strikingly, the employment rate for young people aged 15 to 24 has fallen from 59.7% in 2008 to 54.6% today, a fall of more than five percentage points.

The youth unemployment rate in January was 13.9%.

We have to do much better.

Photo: cristiano_betta. Used under a Creative Commons BY 2.0 licence.