Harpernomics 101: low-income jobs growing, high-income jobs falling

Jason Kenney wasn't quick to Tweet about Wednesday's employment numbers. 

Stephen Harper's employment minister faced a double dose of bad news on the job front.

New Statistics Canada data shows that the quality of Canadian jobs has declined since 2006 -- the year the Conservatives took office -- with low-paying jobs seeing growth and high-paying jobs suffering a decline.

Meanwhile, job loss numbers for December were revised -- seeing a dramatic increase.

Kenney previously took to Twitter to call the month's job-creation numbers "great," while critics said the initial December data showed 58,000 jobs were lost -- a net loss of 4,000.  

The long-term job data doesn't help the Conservatives either.

It shows that the quality of Canadian jobs has declined since they were elected in 2006 -- with employment trends for low-end and high-end jobs going in opposite directions. That seems to contrast with the "overwhelmingly full-time, high-paying, private-sector jobs" Prime Minister Harper trumpeted creating on Sunday.

Here are five ways working Canadians fortunes have declined since 2006:

1.  Job growth in lowest wage category

Overall, 38% of the new jobs created between 2006 and 2014 were in sales and service occupations, the lowest wage category. The total number of Canadians employed in that category has risen by 532,000 since 2006. That accounts for 37.8% of the jobs created since Harper took office -- approximately 4 out of 10 jobs.

2. Decline in highest wage category

Management jobs -- the highest-paid occupational category -- dropped from 1.5 million in 2006 to 1.42 million in 2014. (Meanwhile, senior management jobs fell from 91,000 to 57,000).

3. Income disparity 

Management jobs earn an average of $40.75 per hour, while sales and service occupations average $16.77 per hour -- and are typically far more precarious, offering few benefits (like a decent pension, vacation and sick days). The average weekly wage for a sales and service employee is $544.65, while the average manager makes $1607.03.

4. Employment rate

The employment rate -- the proportion of the working-age population who have a job -- declined from 62.8% to 61.4% per cent in 2014. So there is a lower proportion of Canadians working now than in 2006.

The employment rate in Ontario declined from 63.3% to 61.0%, while British Columbia's dropped from 62.2% per cent to 59.5%.

5. Part-time workers

One third -- or 32.2 per cent -- of all jobs created since 2006 have been part-time positions. 

Meanwhile, revised employment data for December -- numbers Kenney initially defended as "great" on Twitter -- dramatically changed the month's picture:

  • Full-time Job losses for the month were 7,000 more than initially forecast -- rising from  4,300 to 11,300 jobs.
  • The gain in full-time positions dropped 18,000 --- from 53,000 to 35,000.
  • Oh, and job gains for the year were heavily reduced to 121,300 from 185,700.
  • The labour participation rate has fallen to its lowest rate in 14 years.

While Kenney is no stranger to Twitter debates and tirades, Statistics Canada certainly didn't help his habit with any "great" news on Wednesday. 

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