Job creation weak for second straight month in June
Published Friday, July 6, 2012 8:48AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 6, 2012 11:13PM EDT
Canada’s job growth slowed for the second straight month in June even as the unemployment rate edged down to 7.2 per cent, Statistics Canada reported Friday.
Ontario was the only province that showed any significant gains, adding about 20,200 new full-time jobs last month.
Employers across the country added 7,300 net new jobs in June when provincial gains and losses are combined.
Last month’s job numbers weren’t enough to lower the national unemployment rate - 7.3 per cent in May - but June also saw a 16,600 drop in the number of active workers, reducing the size of the country’s labour force, StatsCan said.
Weak job numbers in May and June follow robust job creation in March and April when the economy added 140,000 new positions.
Capital Economics economist David Madani said the underlying details of the report were encouraging.
"The main highlight was that full-time employment rose by 29,300 in June, following little change in the month before," he said in a statement Friday.
"Over the last three months, full-time employment has risen by 74,600, whereas part-time employment has been largely unchanged," he said.
Eric Lascelles, chief economist with RBC Global Asset Management, said the quality of jobs created in June held together well, and the unemployment rate remained steady, but could still be lower.
“Broadly speaking, not a bad report in the context of where we are,” he told CTV News Channel Friday.
“Full-time jobs pay more than part-time jobs and it means people are more fully engaged in the labour force and so it brings all sorts of extra dividends on the back of that,” he said.
And, even though the last two months are down from the previous two stellar ones, it’s important to note Canada still has a lower unemployment rate than the U.S., he said.
“Traditionally, we’ve got an unemployment rate about two percentage points higher, so that really is a massive shift in the level of pain being felt in the two countries,” Lascelles said.
Economists had predicted a tight job market in June due to continuing world financial turmoil marked by the European debt crisis.
Recent confidence surveys have all pointed to weakening conditions and minimal hiring as businesses attempt to weather the global economic storm.
The job picture wasn’t much brighter south of the border Friday, where the U.S. Labor Department reported the American economy adding only 80,000 in June, a third straight month of weak hiring.
The U.S. unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.2 per cent, the department said.
The American economy added an average of just 75,000 a month in the April-June quarter, one-third of the 226,000 a month created in the first quarter.
U.S. numbers indicate that three years after the 2008 recession officially ended, the American job market is actually weakening instead of getting stronger.
Canada’s June job numbers also point to a downturn on the summer job front.
Employment as a percentage of their population among students aged 20-24 fell sharply to 63.2 per cent from 67.4 per cent in June 2011, matching the situation in 2009, when student employment was hit hard by the recession.
“(It) is also the lowest June employment rate since comparable data became available in 1977,” StatsCan said.
Similarly, the employment rate among 17- to 19-year-old students also fell to 51.4 per cent, lower than June 2009.
“It's really, really hard to find jobs unless you are experienced in that field,” job seeker Mia Mennote told CTV News.
It's especially difficult for youth who live on the street and have little education.
“We're also not housed so there's a lot of problems with that,” said student Natalie Door, who sleeps on the street while studying for a high school degree during the day.
Despite the dour job numbers, there were some bright spots in the report.
Full-time employment rose by 29,300, offset by a 22,000 decline in part-time work. And the number of employees rose by 12,800 as self-employment dropped.
Most of the gains last month occurred in the public sector, which saw a large 38,900 gain, while the private sector shed 26,000 jobs. Self-employment fell by 5,500.
The biggest gains were in business, building and other support services, where employment rose by about 24,000.
“For the most part people want to build. They want get into their homes, whether it's an apartment or a condo or single attached,” said Paul Pettipas, CEO of the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association.
Health care and social assistance added 20,000 and there was a gain of 19,000 in educational services.
Offsetting the employment gains, the number of workers in the information, culture and recreation fields fell by 31,000, while there were 20,000 fewer agricultural workers in June.
There were also minor declines in construction and manufacturing.
Regionally, there was an even split among provinces with employment increases as those with declines, but aside from Ontario, the differences from the previous month were small in comparison to their populations, the agency said.
With a report from Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife