A Part-Time, Do-It-Yourself Job Market

December 6, 2013

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Statistics Canada reported that employment grew by 22,000 in November. But 20,000 of those new jobs were part-time. The proportion of all Canadian jobs that are part-time rose to an even 19%.

Broken down another way, 19,000 of the employment increase were people reporting themselves as self-employed. Canadian employers actually hired fewer than 3,000 additional employees last month.

Part-time work and self-reported self-employment kept the official unemployment rate just under 7% for a third consecutive month, but hardly suggest a vibrant job market.

The longer-term trend is still that Canadian employers are creating barely enough jobs to keep pace with population growth. Tellingly, the employment rate – the proportion of working-age Canadians who are employed – is lower today than a year ago.

The federal government should use the unspent billions in its budget to accelerate job-creating investments in public infrastructure and to improve Employment Insurance for the 1.3 million Canadians who remain unemployed.

Erin Weir is an economist with the United Steelworkers union and a CCPA research associate.

UPDATE (Dec. 7): Quoted in today’s Nanaimo Daily News (A9), Okanagan Saturday (C6), Waterloo Region Record (C1), New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal (A1), Fredericton Daily Gleaner (D1), Truro Daily News (A16) and Cape Breton Post (B5) via Canadian Press as well as in today’s Regina Leader-Post (B1) and Saskatoon StarPhoenix (C1).

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