No real sign of recovery was apparent in dismal job numbers released Friday but, while they’ll certainly leave a bitter taste for some who read economic tea leaves, there was the small consolation that the statistics could have been worse.
Bucking predictions that the recession may have officially ended in July, Statistics Canada reported that Canada’s labour market shed another 45,000 jobs as more people struggled to find work. It was a terrible month for the tourism sector and youth employment fell sharply from one of the worst summer job markets in decades.
The unemployment rate stayed at 8.6 per cent as discouraged workers appeared to leave the labour market and were not counted in the monthly tally from Statistics Canada.
The news held little surprise for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who has sounded a more pessimistic note than many — including Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney — who have claimed to see signs of an economy on the mend.
“These are difficult times. It’s going to be a difficult year. I’ve been saying that, to sort of, calm the euphoria about, you know, ’We’re out of a recession,”’ Flaherty told CTV News.
“We are stabilized, and there are some good signs. But it’s still the recession and we still have to work our way out of it.”
Though the national unemployment rate was unchanged, one note of concern was that full-time employment and private sector jobs — the two most reliable indicators of labour market strength — both continued their downward trajectory.
“We expected continuing increases in unemployment and we’re seeing that. The unemployment rate will lag the recovery of the economy,” Flaherty said.
“The economy has stabilized but some people are still losing their jobs.”
The agency reported there were 29,100 fewer full-time workers in July. The private sector also to shed jobs, dropping another 75,000.
“While a jobless recovery is possible, a job- destroying recovery isn’t, since even if productivity gains allow it for a while, it leaves the household sector without the spending power to sustain it,” wrote CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld.
“All told, these were much weaker numbers than anticipated.”
Carney recently said the summer quarter should produce growth of 1.3 per cent, the first quarterly economic expansion in Canada since last fall. Some economists have said there are many indicators that show the spring-summer quarter would hold the first signs of improvement after nine months of economic battering.