A look at the weakening Canadian economy with an emphasis on the steady growth of both unemployment and job creation
anada’s unemployment rate rose by 0.2 per cent despite economists’ predictions that it would fall further, according to Statistics Canada in a report released Mar. 13 on 2014.
All in all, Canada lost nearly 1,000 jobs. Some provinces were hit harder than others. This figure of 1,000 jobs itself seems somewhat light considering the massive job growth seen in January, as well as the prediction of 5,000 jobs being lost in February. Additionally, the unemployment rate came in slightly higher than the 6.7 per cent consensus projection made by economists early in the month.
According to Statistics Canada, Alberta lost the most jobs with 14,000 during February, driving the province’s unemployment rate up nearly a full percent from 4.4 to 5.3 per cent. This marked its highest rise in unemployment since 2011 and surprisingly, was spread over a range of industries not entirely limited to natural resources. However, of the 14,000 jobs, 7,000 positions were in support activities for mining, oil and gas.
Ontario saw a more stable unemployment rate, actually adding 13,800 jobs and holding a steady rate of 6.9 per cent unemployment. Nova Scotia and Newfoundland Labrador experienced similar losses, with a majority of the jobs lost in February coming from the east coast and Alberta. In Quebec, 17,000 part time jobs were created, proving that not all of eastern Canada was in decline.
Among some of the more surprising findings were that youth unemployment went up to 13.3 per cent in February from 12.8 per cent, as well as the jobless rate for men 25 years and older increasing to 6.2 per cent from 5.8 per cent.
The economy also saw a net loss of 29,000 jobs in the private sector, while it registered a net gain of 24,300 jobs in public-sector positions.
In terms of what parts of the economy were hit the hardest, manufacturing lost nearly 20,000 jobs and natural resources lost 16,900 jobs in the wake of the dropping oil value in 2015. Overall, oil is down some 21,000 jobs this year.
While oil prices continue to plummet, construction companies created nearly 15,500 jobs, many of which were also more seasonal/part-time again furthering the trend of steady growth in part time positions.
There has also been a shift away from private sector, with a loss of 29,000 jobs being negated by the 24,300 public-sector positions that were created.
According to the Bank of Montreal (BMO) economist Robert Kavcic, the impact of cheap oil is starting to have an impact on job markets across the country.
“Indeed, things got more interesting at the regional level in February, with cracks from the slide in oil prices now starting to clearly emerge,” Kavcic wrote in a note to some of his clients which has since been leaked online.
According to Andrew Haley, a former employe the oil industry who was recently laid off, “Its always a good feeling to see gas at a dollar or less a litre for most, but for me, someone who works in the oil and gas industry, it’s quite the opposite feeling. It’s a sign that mass layoffs and job sharing are hurting those who help make this country run. This has not just affected Alberta, but has created a chain reaction that has reached across the country, hurting the people that cater to the needs of oil and gas.”