OPINION: Canadian Economy Much Weaker Than Job Numbers Show

Weak wages, lack of security, are serious & growing problems

WINNIPEG, MB – Discussions about the economy typically focus on the month-to-month jobs numbers.

But in that up-and-down data, more meaningful information is often overlooked. That is certainly the case in the latest Canadian jobs report.

According to Stats Canada, 19,400 net jobs were created in March – which appears to be a pretty respectable number. It will certainly be touted by the government as “evidence” their economic policies are working.

However, the underlying numbers paint a much different picture.

95% of the net new jobs were self-employment jobs, which in many cases means less job security and fewer benefits.

More concerning however was the decline in wage growth. The rate of wage growth per-year was only 1.1%, among the lowest levels in the last two decades.

Our job market: Less secure, lower wages.

Keep in mind that even when wages are increasing slowly, they can be falling in tangible ways. For example, in January of 2016 wages were up 0.4% year-over-year, but inflation was up 2% in that same time period. This means Canadian workers experienced a 1.6% drop in their wages when accounting for spending power.

What we are seeing is an economic decline that is hidden by outdated job metrics. The structure of employment is changing, but the government is not keeping pace with those changes. More people may be working, but those jobs barely (and often don’t), pay the bills, people are falling further into debt, and the security of benefits or job stability is being eroded.

This is happening in Manitoba, throughout Canada, and throughout much of the industrialized world. And yet, despite the increasing financial squeeze, those in power keep finding new taxes and new fees to load us up with.

Is it any wonder that people are losing faith in the government, and no longer trust what those in power have to say?

Until our leaders listen to what is happening on the ground rather than rely on outdated statistical tools, trust in government will continue to fall and our political system will become even more dysfunctional than it is now.

Spencer Fernando, MyToba News

Spencer Fernando is a columnist and reporter for MyToba News. You can read more of Spencer’s writing at his website SpencerFernando.com
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