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2013 in two words: Discouraged and Underemployed

CLC responds to year-end labour force statistics

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 01/10/14 -- If you had to pick two words to sum up the job market for Canadians in 2013, what would they be?

Looking at today's release of year-end employment statistics, Ken Georgetti's words are "discouraged" and "underemployed"; if he could pick a third it would be "indifference" to describe the federal government's reaction.

Disappointing as the overall numbers were - employment gains in 2013 amounted to just 0.6% and employment growth averaged 8,500 per month in 2013, compared with 25,900 in 2012 - Georgetti says it's really just the tip of the iceberg.

While the official unemployment rate ranged from a low of 6.9% in November to a high of 7.2% in December, it only counted those who were actively seeking work. The number of unemployed who gave up looking or couldn't get enough hours - which the Canadian Labour Congress calculates at about 14% - remained hidden from view. The official numbers also left out people whose skills were not being used because they settled for any job they could find to pay the bills and put food on the table.

"All jobs aren't the same. Decision makers who point to the official numbers and pat themselves on the back aren't looking at the whole picture. As a result, little to nothing is being done to deal with the real problems of underemployment and the growing discouragement and disillusion among workers, young workers especially," says Georgetti.

Over 2013, 80% of the new jobs created were part-time and the number of Canadians who work part-time reached a high of 19.1% (December). Youth unemployment ranged from 12.9% (September) to 14% (December), a rate double the national average.

"I get letters from parents whose kids have graduated with large student debts and can't find work. I get letters from people who have been looking for full-time work but can't find it. MPs and cabinet ministers get these letters too, I'm sure. Yet, this reality gets left out of the official unemployment statistics every month. That's not fair to the workers and families who are getting left behind as a result," says Georgetti.

Quick Analysis from CLC Senior Economist Angella MacEwen

The labour market added 102,000 jobs over 2013, or only 8,500 per month. This falls far short of the job creation rate of 2012, which was 25,400 per month. Over the year the labour force grew by 126,300 people, meaning that job growth did not keep up with the number of job seekers. Job growth remained confined to workers over 55, while young workers and men 25-54 saw job losses in 2013.

80% of the jobs added in 2013 were part-time jobs, reversing the trend of full-time employment growth seen in 2012. The number of part-time workers who wanted more hours grew in 2013 as well, as nearly 914,000 workers couldn't get enough hours. Combined with the nearly 470,000 people who were no longer actively looking for work, but said they wanted a job, un(der)employment stood at 14% in 2013 - double the headline unemployment rate of 7.1%.

The unemployment rate for landed immigrants remained higher than the national average, at 8.1% for the year.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils.

Web site: www.canadianlabour.ca

Follow us on Twitter @CanadianLabour

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