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Canadian Unemployment at 6.9%

April 4 2014 - Statistics Canada reported that employment rose by 43000 - mostly young workers - in March and the unemployment rate fell by 0.1% to 6.9%. Employment is up by 190,000 compared with a year ago but there has been no significant growth since August 2013. British Columbia and New Brunswick gained in employment in March while Nova Scotia had losses.

Seasonally adjusted, unemployment rates vary from 11.6% (Newfoundland and Labrador) to 4.3% (Saskatchewan).

Rates for all the provinces were (previous month in brackets):

  • Newfoundland and Labrador 11.6% (11.8%)
  • Prince Edward Island 11.8% (11.5%)
  • Nova Scotia 9.3% (8.9%)
  • New Brunswick 9.7% (9.8%)
  • Quebec 7.6% (7.8%)
  • Ontario 7.3% (7.5%)
  • Manitoba 5.7% (5.3%)
  • Saskatchewan 4.5% (3.9%)
  • Alberta 4.9% (4.3%)
  • British Columbia 5.8% (6.4%)

Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress commented:

"Underemployment remains Canada's biggest labour market challenge. Some politicians keep saying that we have replaced all of the jobs lost in the Great Recession following 2008. That is not true when you account for the growth in our labour force, and there is a real problem when you look at the kinds of jobs we are creating. There are far too many part-time, precarious and poorly-paid jobs out there."

CLC Senior Economist Angella MacEwen provided a quick analysis:

"Statistics Canada reported 42,900 net new jobs in March 2014. Gains were mostly in the public sector, specifically health and social assistance. Agriculture lost 12,000 jobs and manufacturing lost 9,000 in March. However manufacturing is up over last March by 16,000, a growth rate of 0.9%, close to the average job growth rate of 1.1%.

"This month's news shows a welcome gain in the number of Canadians employed, but it is important to note that the average monthly job gain over the past 12 months is still low, at 15,800. As well, three quarters of the gains for March were part-time, and over the past 12 months one in three new jobs was part time. In March, Quebec gained 15,000 jobs during a period that coincided with an election call.

"While young workers added 32,500 jobs in March, this didn't keep up with the 35,400 new young workers who entered the labour force last month. The unemployment rate for young workers remained static at 13.6, and 47.7% of young workers were employed part-time.

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