The government issued the April Jobs Report today, meant to inform us citizens on how the labor market is doing. When the jobs report says good things, it is totally because of government policy and when we lose jobs, it must just be the business cycle and external shocks. This time, employment decreased by 29,000 in April, with Quebec losing 32,000 jobs, and New Brunswick’s anemic unemployment rate convulsing up to 10.5% in an aortal spasm, so said the April StatsCan Labour Force survey.
Canadian youths were castrated, with 13.4% youth unemployment, and even more kids in the 15-24 demographic dropping out of the market entirely and consigning themselves to forever poverty (also known as getting more degrees).
The only glimmer of growth was among women over 55, who saw gains of 29,000 jobs. Yet, even this was but a side effect of a larger number of 54 year old women this year than last, and is just a preview of the impending social security crisis that will bankrupt the treasury as more boomers retire. That’s right, the only demographic with growing job numbers are the angry old people, and even that growth is still a bad sign.
Those without degrees should be concerned, as jobs in accommodation and food services dropped this month. So should those with degrees, as jobs in finance, insurance, and real estate fell by 19,000. That leaves all the people in the middle feeling safe. Wait, what’s the middle between having and not having a degree? Uh oh.
The only real increase was in business and construction, but only marginally. As well, despite the natural resource sector growing by 6.4% overall this year, it declined by nearly 2% in the last month. Even the Alberta labour force, the alleged “West” in the “West versus the rest” rhetoric, declined by 0.3%. In fact, every single province lost jobs with the exception of Ontario, whose gains (26,000) offset the equivalent of 2,000 of Quebec’s losses, and those of every other province combined.
On the plus side, the labour participation rate (percentage of employed and unemployed compared to the general population) is 66.1% in Canada, compared to 62.8% down south. Plus, Canadian unemployment is 0.3% lower than the US (6 to 6.3 using comparative statics). In terms of Western economies, we’re still not doing terribly.
It is however, important to note that all the data pertaining to average hours worked and vacation days has the factual accuracy of the four week old Easter egg you found under your couch, due to StatsCan having conducted the survey between April 13-19, which included Good Friday. In previous years they’ve done the survey on weeks that do not include Good Friday. This oversight in statistical equivalence is a bit confusing.
Moreover, some of this may be caused by the pausing of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, after McDonald’s was accused of treating foreign immigrants as slave, and essentially holding them hostage. Or something like that.
In the end, it looks like the government’s cuts to StatsCan hit hard.