The latest employment figures from Statistics Canada show a decline of by 112,000 jobs in the private sector in August, resulting in an overall drop in employment of 11,000.
Only last month the agency botched the July jobs report, erroneously claiming the economy added just 200 new jobs, when it fact the figure was 42,000. Scotiabank economist Derek Holt was quick to warn the report “looks very fishy to me.”
We’ll know soon enough if another mistake has been made, but even if the employment report for August didn’t fit with what economists were expecting, it’s hardly out of line with what the Canadian economy has experienced in recent months. There have not been two consecutive months of net new job growth since October 2013 and these new jobs figures are just part of a slowing trend that’s been underway since January 2013.
On an annual basis, job growth is probing depths not seen outside of a recession since the federal government took its deficit-fighting axe to the public service in the mid-1990s, or since the 2001 U.S. recession and 9/11 brought economic activity nearly to a halt.
A few other highlights from August:
- The unemployment rate stayed at seven per cent.
- Since September 2013, full-time employment has grown just 0.03 per cent, the equivalent of 4,200 net new positions.
- Despite the decline in the number of jobs, wages posted a 2.5 per cent gain from the year before. So it’s not all bad news.
Attorney Colin Singer Commentary:
The economy continues to show evidence of inconsistency in job creation. Despite the stubbornly high country wide unemployment rate, shortages continue to amplify in certain industries such as skilled trades in Western Canada.