Politics & Policies

Canada | The Issue is Unemployment Not Labour Shortages

The federal government is basing labour market policy on the belief that,  as Jason Kenney pithily puts it in today’s Globe, there are “large and growing labour shortages.”  Hence moves to bring in even more temporary foreign workers at lower than average wages, and to push EI claimants into supposedly available jobs.

Not that the facts appear to matter, but it is surely notable that – even after two months of strong job growth – we still have an unemployment rate of 7.3%. The “real” unemployment rate in April – which includes involuntary part-time workers – was 10.7%, down only marginally from 11.3% a year earlier.  The “real” unemployment rate for youth is still 20.4%, down a tad from 21.2% a year ago.

The most recently released Statscan data on job vacancies – for the three months ending in January, 2012 – show that there were 6.4 unemployed workers for every reported job vacancy. That is actually worse than the previously reported number for September when ther were 5.4 unemployed workers for every reported vacancy.

Further evidence of labour market slack and high unemployment is the fact that average hourly earnings in April were up 2.3%  compared to a year earlier, barely matching inflation.

via The Progressive Economics Forum » Memo to Ministers: The Issue is Unemployment Not Labour Shortages.

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