Job Statistics Underscore Need for Good Jobs Summit, CAW's Lewenza says

June 8, 2012, 2:22 PM EST


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Canada's unemployment rate remains stubbornly high and continues to show troubling trends of growing youth unemployment as well as more self-employed workers, CAW President Ken Lewenza says.

Lewenza was reacting to Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey for May, which was released June 8. The survey showed Canada's jobless rate remained at 7.3 per cent and that the economy only picked up 7,700 jobs last month.

Although there is some good news with manufacturers adding 36,000 positions last month, and gains in retail, wholesale and agriculture, the construction rate dropped, as did jobs in the information, culture and recreation areas, he said.

"Stubborn high unemployment, especially among certain demographic groups such as youth means it's clear that Canada needs a strategy to create good jobs," Lewenza said.

Unemployment among youth aged 15 to 24 increased from 13.9 per cent in April to 14.3 per cent last month. The survey noted that youth employment is roughly at the same level as in July 2009, when the labour market downturn hit a low.

 "The federal government must take heed of these job trends and take action to help all Canadians, including our youth find secure, decent full time jobs," Lewenza said.

He again stressed the need for a multi-stakeholder, national good jobs summit, which he said is long overdue given the massive structural changes the Canadian labour market continues to endure. Over the last seven years, more than half a million good paying manufacturing and processing jobs have been lost.

CAW economist Jim Stanford recently told the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance that Canada's labour market has only marginally recovered from the worst days of the 2008-09 recession.

He presented the Committee with estimates of actual unemployment, which he pegged at almost 2.3 million Canadians, or over 12 percent. 

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