The Broadbent Blog


Stalled recovery takes shine off Harper's economic record

harpershrug-primeministergr-bysa20_2.jpg

Editor's note: after releasing its July jobs report on Aug. 8 showing 200 jobs were created overall, Statistics Canada said on Aug. 12 it had made an unspecified error in the labour force survey. The agency released an amended jobs report on Aug. 15. This has been updated to incorporate Statistics Canada's correction.

The Harper government boasts of rapid job creation since the recession. But today's revised job numbers demonstrate that the recovery has stalled

July itself was clearly a weak month. Full-time employment fell by 16,000, and the unemployment rate fell from 7.1% to 7.0% only because of an increase in part-time jobs.

More tellingly, the past year, from July, 2013 to July, 2014, has been exceptionally weak.

While the national unemployment rate is down a bit, from 7.2% to 7.0%, since last July, it fell only because of a fall in the number of persons seeking work (the participation rate.) The participation rate fell by 0.4 percentage points, and the employment rate (the proportion of the working age population with a job) fell from 61.6% to 61.4% over the year.

The participation rate for so-called core age workers between age 25 and 54 has fallen significantly over the past year, from 90.7% to 90.2% for men, and by even more, from 82.5% to 81.8%, for women in this age group.

The fact that many core age workers have given up looking for work suggests that decent available jobs are few and far between. It is very unusual for persons in this age group to withdraw from the labour force in significant numbers during a supposed economic recovery.

Statistics Canada also reports no improvement in the jobs situation for full time students who plan to return to school. Their unemployment rate in July was unchanged from July, 2013.

Last but not least, average hourly wages are flat when adjusted for inflation.

Photo: primeministergr. Used under a Creative Commons BY-SA-2.0 license.