Participation Rate Lowest in a Decade

Today’s Toronto Star (page B2) quotes me pointing out that, between September and October, unemployment remained at 1,325,000, well above its pre-recession level.

The participation rate remained 66.4%, its lowest level in more than a decade (since February 2002), reflecting the fact that hundreds of thousands have dropped out of the job market altogether and are no longer counted as being unemployed.

The words “little change” appear eight times in yesterday’s Statistics Canada press release on the Labour Force Survey. The figures for October are indeed remarkably similar to September.

This lack of change might be viewed as welcome stability in better economic times, but it has to be regarded as stagnation given the actual state of Canada’s job market.

Erin Weir is an economist with the United Steelworkers union and a CCPA research associate.

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