A skewed view of unemployment rates

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Pontiac Perspective  Peter J. Gauthier

Economics has been identified as the dismal science. A look at employment indicators definitely supports this. Employment, or lack of it, is a major    economic concern for both federal and provincial governments. It’s also a major worry for most Canadians. A look at some employment data confirms this.

Pontiac Perspective  Peter J. Gauthier

Economics has been identified as the dismal science. A look at employment indicators definitely supports this. Employment, or lack of it, is a major    economic concern for both federal and provincial governments. It’s also a major worry for most Canadians. A look at some employment data confirms this.
First, some misleading data. Canada’s unemployment rate is approximately 7%. However, this is not a good indicator of Canada’s employment situation because the unemployment numbers don’t include people who have “dropped out,” meaning they have been unemployed for such a long period of time that their only income is provincial social assistance. It also doesn’t include unemployed         graduates from school who haven’t been able to find a first job. Looking at actual employment numbers and opportunities gives a better picture of the real situation.
Canada’s employment record is rather poor. Relative to the entire population, the employment rate is only 72%. This is down from the pre-recession rate of approximately 74%. This means that,    relative to our total population, Canada’s employment rate has decreased by about 2%. The Harper government claims that, thanks to its good economic management, employment numbers are back to pre-recession levels. But what they do not consider is that Canada’s working age population has grown by 1.75 million since 2008. This fact was noted by a recent OECD report that drew attention to Canada’s failure to create jobs. In terms of job creation, Canada ranks 20th out of 34 OECD countries. This is well below the average and a reduction from the 17th place Canada had three years ago.
The Harper government also claims there are plenty of jobs available; the only problem is that Canadian workers do not have the required technical skills to fill these job vacancies. Here again, the government is distorting the facts.
Recent data from Statistics Canada, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and other reliable sources indicate that for each job opening in Canada, there are six unemployed Canadians ready to fill that job. More specifically, a new report from the Parliamentary Budget Office has shown there are no labour shortages nor skills mismatches; there is only a shortage of jobs. The only source for the Harper Government’s position comes from some large international companies who want to pay lower wages to           non-unionised foreign workers. Of course, these are the same people who support the Harper government and expect favourable responses from them.
If the government is to seriously tackle the unemployment situation in Canada, the first requirement is to look at the real facts. But the Harper government has an ideology to meet – if the facts do not meet ideological requirements, change them, and if facts cannot be changed, ignore them!