Canada’s unemployment rate fell slightly to 7.4 per cent in February, according to Statistics Canada figures released today. But that was just a reflection of how more than 37,000 people left the job market, giving up their quest to find a paying gig in this country. “The main message is that the domestic economy is now clearly struggling to post meaningful growth,” BMO Capital Markets deputy chief economist Doug Porter wrote to clients. “At this point, a renewed upturn in jobs likely requires a more robust U.S. recovery to pull exports more fully along for the ride.”
The employment market remained static in February, as the economy shed a total of 2,800 jobs, which is especially disappointing in light of predictions that Canada would gain 15,000 positions last month. The situation is most grim for Canadians under 25. In a report released yesterday by TD Economics, analyst Francis Fong concluded that any economic recovery after the 2008 financial collapse has been virtually “non-existent” for young Canadians. The report predicted that people between the ages of 15 and 24, with an unemployment rate of more than 14 per cent, shouldn’t expect things to get rosier “for several more years.” This demographic accounted for more than half of net job losses during the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, and employment number among the age group remains 250,000 lower than before the economic downturn.
Contrast that with older Canadians (those over 25), who have seen employment availability expand to 400,000 jobs higher than levels seen before the recession. It’s an unbalanced picture that gets even more upsetting as the country continues its march toward austerity, with all levels of government keen to cut costs and balance budgets. In the upcoming federal budget, each department is expected to announce 10 per cent spending cuts, while provinces like British Columbia grapple with the public sector as it tries to curb costs.
It’s enough to make you want to go Occupy something.