Ouch! Canada only created 32,000 permanent jobs in 2014

How was last year for job creation?

Thanks to new job numbers released Friday, we now have a more complete picture of just how flat 2014 was.

According to Statistics Canada, a grand total of 32,000 permanent jobs were created in Canada last year. Meanwhile, the country saw temporary jobs increase by 110,000 over the same time period – highlighting the continued trend towards a precarious labour force.

Although Canadian employment grew by 1% last year, our working-age population grew by 1.2%. And while Canada's unemployment rate dipped by 0.6%, the proportion of Canadians who actually had jobs fell from 61.6% to 61.5%.

(The unemployment rate only measures the number of people who are unemployed and actively seeking work. Pointedly, despite the increase in working-age population, the proportion of Canadians working or actively seeking work fell from 66.4% to 65.9% – meaning many Canadians gave up looking for work altogether.) 

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Also troubling was the rise in self-employed, a typically low-paying and more insecure class of worker that can include everyone from start-up entrepreneurs and babysitters to those working odd contract jobs. StatsCan indicated that workers identifying as self-employed posted the single biggest increases in 2014, rising a full 2.0% or 55,000 workers.

Workers likely saw their meaningful wage decrease from 2013 to 2014. Average hourly earnings rose by 46 cents (or 1.9%), but that increase is unlikely to keep pace with inflation for the year (the inflation rate was 2.0% in November).

By industry, the biggest job gains were seen in construction (69,000 new jobs, a 5.8% increase) and accommodation and food services (38,000 new jobs, a 3.4% increase) while the biggest losses were seen in professional, scientific and technical services (35,000 jobs lost, a 2.5% decrease) and information, culture and recreation (30,000 jobs lost, a 3.7% decrease).

Looking ahead to 2015, TD economist Jonathan Bendiner warns of "some notable headwinds that will keep job creation in check next year." 

"The recent plunge in oil prices will likely lead to continued softness in resource hiring, which is down 4.3% in December on a year-over-year basis," Bendiner points out. "Canada's 2015 growth prospects are tightly linked to its export sector which is less labour intensive than other areas of the economy" suggesting "this export-led growth path will not translate into a surge in employment."

Meanwhile, Bendiner adds that "ongoing government restraint, particularly at the provincial level, is expected to constrain employment in the public sector."

Photo: PMwebphotos.

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