Canada’s employment numbers are on a teeter-totter; every month they’re up and down. A look at employment numbers in August 2018 versus July 2018 reveals how much things can change.
Statistics Canada reports that the unemployment rate went up 0.2 of a percentage point from 5.8% to 6.0% in August 2018. You might think that doesn’t seem like much, but it is interesting to look at the figures behind the percentages; they are what should be of interest to the HR practitioner.
Across Canada there was an astonishing loss of 92,000 part-time positions in August, but on the other hand 40,400 new full-time positions were created. It could be argued that though more jobs have been lost than created, an increase in full-time positions represents movement towards higher quality, more secure, jobs.
Another interesting employment statistic is that Ontario lost a whopping 80,100 jobs in August 2018, having gained 60,600 in July. An even more alarming static is the loss of 22,100 positions in the professional fields. These jobs in sciences and the technical industry are supposed to be in demand, and in theory a little more secure than those in other fields, but that may not be the case.
So, what do all these employment numbers mean to the HR practitioner? It’s very hard to know if we’re seeing a blip or the start of a downward trend. However, what is certain is that HR departments need to be aware of monthly employment numbers as they shift, and develop proactive recruitment and HR planning strategies that enable future labour shortages or surpluses to be addressed.
- What could be the cause of such drastic changes in Canadian employment levels?
- If you were called into an organization as a recruitment consultant, what steps would you recommend the HR department take to be proactive?
- How have these lower employment numbers affected Canadian wage rates?
- Identify three things an employer can do if they feel a labour surplus issue is on the horizon for their organization. Identify the pros and cons of each strategy.