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Now is Not the Time to Pull the Plug on Unemployed Canadian Workers

Fri, 08/06/2010 - 7:35am
The Associated Press

"Today's appalling jobs report means that the federal government must rethink its plan to pull the plug on the economic stimulus plan as soon as September" says Canadian Labour Congress President Ken Georgetti.

"The loss of almost 150,000 permanent employee jobs last month combined with the increase in part-time work to an all time high of one in five suggests that the recovery in the job market may be coming to an end. With almost 1.5 million workers still unemployed - up more than 350,000 from before the recession - the focus has to remain on job creation."

The Canadian Labour Congress has noted that the number of Employment Insurance beneficiaries has been falling much more rapidly than the number of unemployed as long-term unemployed workers run out of benefits. Only 45% of unemployed Canadian are now collecting EI benefits. Down from over 50% last year. Yet special EI measures such as an extra 5 weeks benefits expire in September, and the infrastructure job creation program will wind down in March. Special training measures have already expired.

"The federal government must focus on job creation and support for the unemployed in the upcoming fall session of Parliament," Georgetti concluded.

Analysis from CLC Senior Economist Sylvain Schetagne

The performance of the labour market in July 2010 was catastrophic. The unemployment rate is back up to 8.0%. The number of full-time jobs in Canada decreased very rapidly in July, when 139,000 full-time jobs were eliminated. The number of permanent employees fell by even more, by 144,400.

Full-time job losses were offset by a shift to part-time work (+129,700). One worker out of 5 now works part-time, the highest proportion ever recorded since data has been collected (1976).

Overall, a total of 9,300 jobs were eliminated in July, the first decrease in employment since the beginning of 2010.

There are still more than 250,000 fewer full-time jobs today than at the beginning of this "Great Recession" in October 2008 (-266,200).

The long term unemployment rate remains high. The percentage of Canadians who have been unemployed for more than 6 months was 22.5% in July, the highest level of long term unemployment observed since the job crisis started in October 2008. Before the crisis, the long term unemployment rate was around 12%.

The real unemployment rate, a rate that includes discouraged workers and involuntary part-time workers, was 12% in July 2010, a rate considerably higher than what was observed in October 2008 (8. There are still 355,000 more unemployed Canadians today than in the fall of 2008.

Jobs were eliminated last month for both men and women, in almost all age groups and concentrated in the service industries, especially in educational services (-65,300). Manufacturing is up this month (28,500), but remains near its record low level.

These appalling job numbers clearly show the folly of ending stimulus measures to support an economic recovery which has been cast in doubt. Special EI measures end in Septmber, and the infrastructure investment program ends next March.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.2 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils. Web site: www.canadianlabour.ca (http://www.canadianlabour.ca) .

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