***Just Off The Press***
Employment increased by 27,000 in August
Statscan - The increase was led by part-time work and among private sector employees. The unemployment rate edged up 0.1 percentage points to 8.7% as more people participated in the labour market.
Since employment peaked in October 2008, total employment has fallen by 387,000 (-2.3%). The trend in employment, however, has changed recently. Over the last five months, employment has fallen by 31,000, a much smaller decline than the 357,000 observed during the five months following October 2008.
In August, part-time employment rose by 31,000. Since October, full-time work has dropped by 486,000 (-3.5%), partially offset by increases in part time of 99,000 (+3.1%).
Employment among private sector employees increased by 49,000 in August, the first increase in this group since September 2008. Employment among both public sector employees and the self-employed edged down in August.
Increases were observed in a number of industries in August, including retail and wholesale trade, as well as finance, insurance, real estate and leasing. Total employment gains were partially offset by losses in business, building and other support services, as well as educational services.
In August, employment edged up in most provinces. Saskatchewan was the only province with a notable decline.
The employment increase in August was concentrated among women aged 25 to 54.
The 2009 summer labour market was one of the most challenging for students aged 15 to 24. Their average unemployment rate reached 19.2% over the summer months, the second highest rate since comparable data became available in 1977.
Average hourly wages were up 3.3% compared with August 2008, the lowest year-over-year growth in more than two years.
More workers in retail and wholesale trade
There were employment increases in a number of industries in August, with the largest in retail and wholesale trade (+21,000) and finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (+18,000). Total employment gains were partially offset by losses in business, building and other support services (-33,000), as well as educational services (-17,000).
Employment in the manufacturing sector continued its downward trend in August, while construction rose slightly.
In the five months following the employment peak of October 2008, employment fell in almost all industries, especially manufacturing and construction. In the past five months, however, while manufacturing has continued its decline, employment in construction has stabilized and it has increased in most service industries.
Employment edges up in most provinces
Manitoba's employment increased by 3,400 in August. However, the unemployment rate climbed 0.5 percentage points to 5.7% as more people looked for work.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, employment rose by 2,900 in August and the unemployment rate fell 1.5 percentage points to 15.6%. Since October, employment in the province has declined by 3,200 (-1.5%).
Employment in Ontario increased slightly for a second consecutive month in August. Despite these gains, employment in Ontario has declined by 207,000 (-3.1%) since last October. The province's unemployment rate in August was 9.4%, up 0.1 percentage points.
Following a large drop in July, employment in Quebec was little changed in August. The unemployment rate was 9.1%, up 0.1 percentage points. Since last October, employment in the province has decreased by 60,000 (-1.5%).
In Saskatchewan, employment declined for the second consecutive month, down 3,200 in August. The unemployment rate, while up 0.3 percentage points, remained the lowest in Canada at 5.0%.
Employment up among core-aged women
Women aged 25 to 54 were the only demographic group with an employment increase in August (+23,000). Since last October, employment for this group has declined over the whole period, with losses totalling 77,000.
The largest employment decreases since October 2008, however, were for youths (-210,000) and men aged 25 to 54 (-194,000). While employment for youths has declined throughout the entire 10-month period, all the losses for men occurred during the first 5 months.
Among workers aged 55 and over, employment rose by 93,000 since last October, particularly in the last 5 months.
Unemployment rate for students one of the highest in summer of 2009
From May to August, the Labour Force Survey collects labour market information about young people aged 15 to 24 who were attending school full time in March and intend to return to school in the fall. The published estimates are not seasonally adjusted; therefore, comparisons can only be made on a year-over-year basis.
In August, employment was down 128,000 (-9.5%) among students aged 15 to 24 compared with August 2008, the fastest year-over-year rate of decline for a month of August since 1983.
The unemployment rate reached 16.4% for students in August, up 5.0 percentage points compared with the same month last year. This was the highest August unemployment rate for these students since comparable data became available in 1977.
The 2009 summer labour market was one of the most challenging for students. The average unemployment rate for the summer was 19.2%, the second highest rate since comparable data became available in 1977. In addition to a high unemployment rate, the average number of hours worked during the summer by students was the lowest since 1977, at 23.4 hours per week.
Case for EI reform
The Windsor Star
Thu Oct 1 2009
Byline: Avril Cardoso and Bhavin Bilimoria
Column: Guest Column
Source: Special to The Windsor Star
While much has been said about the correlation between the economic recession and the rise in mental health cases, little has been said about this correlation and its relationship to Employment Insurance.
In a recent survey of family physicians in Canada, 88 per cent noted that they had seen patients with stress-related problems attributable to the economy.
In Windsor, where the unemployment rate reached 14.9 per cent in June 2009, the highest in Canada, the demand for mental health services increased by an alarming 50 per cent in the last year alone.
As an essential component of Canada's social safety net,
Employment Insurance is premised on the government's understanding that unemployment is often beyond any worker's control due to factory closures, seasonal work or -- more pertinently -- economic recessions. Workers and employers fund the Employment Insurance system through wage premiums and deductions.
Workers qualify for ongoing assistance by actively looking for work. When more people are unemployed it is harder to find employment. Therefore one of the key reforms required is the extension of the length of benefits when local unemployment rates exceed 6.5 per cent. An extension of benefits would prevent workers from requiring social assistance to feed their families.
For some unemployed workers the route to sustainable employment will only be found in training and upgrading. Windsor and EssexCounty have fewer high school and post-secondary school graduates than the rest of the province.
However, in 2007, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada projected that by 2010, 75 per cent of all new jobs created will be high-skilled and only six per cent of jobs will be open to those with less than a high school diploma. Therefore, addressing training needs thorough Employment Insurance is critical if our workforce is to successfully transition to the new economy.
In Windsor, where the manufacturing sector constituted 31 per cent of the workforce in 2002 but dropped to 23 per cent in 2008, it is no surprise that the Ontario Works caseload has increased by 22 per cent since 2004.
This increase in Ontario Works caseloads is indicative that the Employment Insurance benefit rate and duration is inadequate to enable a recipient to secure employment in the midst of a recession.
Subsequently, these workers have had to resort to living off savings, liquidating investments or RRSPs and eventually applying for social assistance. However, in order to qualify for social assistance, applicants have to virtually exhaust all their assets, and this exacerbates the effect of job loss.
The negative effect of this inadequacy on the health of unemployed workers in Windsor is demonstrated by the 23 per cent increase in Ontario Disability recipients since 2004, as well as by increases in physician visits due to stress and increases in the demand for mental health services.
Accordingly, it is evident that the current inadequacy of Employment Insurance is directly related to the correlation between the economic recession and the rise in mental health cases: The onerous eligibility criteria of Employment Insurance result in the exacerbation of an unemployed worker's already deteriorating mental health, courtesy of the economic recession.
By reforming Employment Insurance not only will we be providing essential support to our unemployed workers, we will be improving our community's ability to survive this recession.