Briefly: “Canada Continues to Shed Jobs” and More News

According to Statistics Canada, employment declined by 45,000 in July for both full-time and part-time workers. The unemployment rate remained constant at 8.6%.

July figures indicate that employment fell, most notably, among young people between the ages of 15 and 24, and among women between the ages of 25 and 54. Since October 2008, employment has dropped 414,000 among youth, and among men between the ages of 25 and 54.

Despite claims that the recession is over, Canadian businesses have not improved. Statistics Canada found that employment for private sector employees decreased by 75,000, bringing total losses since October to 436,000. Employment opportunities in accommodation, food services and construction experienced a decrease of 22,000, while there was an increase of 24,000 in retail and wholesale trade.

While Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador experienced notable employment losses, Quebec suffered most significantly. Quebec’s employment fell by 37,000, bringing total losses since October 2008 to 68,000 (representing a decline of 1.8%). Ontario saw a small employment gain in July but has seen a faster pace of job decline since the national employment peak last fall.

Statistics Canada also found that the total hours worked has increased for the second consecutive month, and hourly wage rates have remained fairly constant—a sign for positive things to come.

Based on these findings, CIBC is predicting that there will still be positive economic growth in the third quarter. Experts are predicting that U.S. GDP growth will likely top 3% in the third quarter, but Canada will trail behind.

CIBC also warns that the employment data is positive for bond prices and negative for the valuation of the Canadian dollar and for equities linked to Canadian domestic demand.

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CARP wants stronger pension funding rules CARP is looking for pension reform and for support from the country’s premiers. The organization is looking to rebalance the interests of plan members and their employers by strengthening deficiency funding obligations and giving pension members a higher priority in a bankruptcy.

“The need now is for the premiers and their finance ministers to sit down and start constructing the solutions and to make sure that those most affected have a seat at the table,” says Susan Eng, vice-president, advocacy, with CARP. The current crisis has exposed the flaws in the existing pension regulatory regime; the Nortel bankruptcy and the CHCH pension fund windup are just two examples of why reform is necessary.

Recent studies indicate that Canadians are not saving enough for their retirement, and even those with workplace pensions are at risk in the current economic climate. CARP has called for a Universal Pension Plan, modeled on the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), for the estimated one in three Canadians who will retire without any retirement savings.

“Retirees ravaged by this economic downturn cannot wait for more studies. Government needs to act immediately to give them help now by increasing OAS, GIS and CPP, and better protecting the interests of those with pension plans. It is also time to act for those without pensions,” says Eng.