OTTAWA – The Statistics Canada report on employment in October is good news, but there remains some dark spots in the overall picture. "The creation of 65,000 new jobs, most of them full-time, will hopefully sustain hope in the country's economic prospects and raise expectations," says Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress. "However, we cannot fail to notice the decline in youth employment and continued absence of any pro-active job policy to face the impacts of a high dollar on the manufacturing and tourism sectors in particular."
The unemployment numbers – Statistics Canada reports that in October 2003 the unemployment rate decreased to 7.6% compared to 8.0% in September. That is the same rate as this time last year (7.6% in October 2002) but higher than the 7.3% rate of October 2001, two years ago. In seasonally adjusted numbers, there are currently 1,309,400 Canadians who want to work but do not have a job.
Senior Economist Andrew Jackson's Analysis
• It's good news. Full-time employment in October was up by 62,000. The job losses in manufacturing came to a halt, at least temporarily.
• The figures illustrate the strong support the Canadian economy is getting, not just from household spending, but also from modest reinvestment in public and social services in the wake of the last federal budget . The public sector added a needed 27,000 new jobs last month, led by new jobs in health.
• Two notes of caution must be added. First, the labour force participation rate fell last month, led by a decline among youth. This suggests that work is not as easy to find as the sharp fall in the unemployment rate might lead some to believe. Second, overall job creation for the whole year has been very weak and a 7.6% unemployment rate is no grounds for complacency. We must remain very concerned about the potential impacts of the high dollar on manufacturing, tourism and other highly-exposed sectors. While we can take comfort from today's numbers, we are less confident looking ahead.
The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 2.5 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 137 district labour councils. Web site: www.clc-ctc.ca