Jobs growth expected to remain slow for 2012

Following two months of rising unemployment, Canada’s jobs picture is looking anything but bright in the early days of the new year. A sampling of economic forecasts finds that employment is expected to grow at a feeble rate of between 12,000 and 20,000 a month, not sufficient to cut into the current 7.4 per cent unemployment rate.

Following two months of rising unemployment, Canada’s jobs picture is looking anything but bright in the early days of the new year. A sampling of economic forecasts finds that employment is expected to grow at a feeble rate of between 12,000 and 20,000 a month, not sufficient to cut into the current 7.4 per cent unemployment rate. And a new survey for the Bank of Montreal suggests employees are equally pessimistic about job prospects and other indicators of economic health. The BMO poll conducted in early December found that only 17 per cent of respondents believed their firms will add staff this year, a drop from the 29 per cent who responded positively to the same question a year earlier. Similar declines were also found on questions about whether they expected their firms to offer employee training and development, or to invest in new machinery and equipment. “A general sense of economic uncertainty may be reflected in employees’ expectations for 2012,” said Cathy Pin, vice-president of commercial banking at BMO. “Canadians likely expect that the current economic conditions will have a measurable impact this year on the investments companies are prepared to make in their workforce.” The online survey of 1,542 Canadians is considered accurate, plus or minus 2.5 percentage points,19 times out of 20. “The results are quite closely tied with consumer confidence,” said Mark Shoniker, BMO’s director of commercial banking. “Consumer confidence in the last year has fallen about 10 points” After a strong start to 2011, Canada’s labour market stalled during the summer and began retreating in the fall, shedding 73,000 jobs in October and November. The December jobs report is due Friday from Statistics Canada.