Statistics Canada reports that unemployment rose by 0.4% to 8.4% in May, the highest in 11 years. This reflected an increase in unemployment of 42,000 - with manufacturing in Ontario hardest hit. 363,000 jobs have been lost since the peak in the job market last October. However, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan had job increases over the month.
Seasonally adjusted, unemployment rates vary from 15.1% (Newfoundland and Labrador) to 4.6% (Manitoba).
Rates for all the provinces were (previous month in brackets):
* Newfoundland and Labrador 15.1% (14.7%)
* Prince Edward Island 13.1% (12.4%)
* Nova Scotia 8.9% (9.2%)
* New Brunswick 8.8% (8.9%)
* Quebec 8.7% (8.4%)
* Ontario 9.4% (8.7%)
* Manitoba 4.9% (4.6%)
* Saskatchewan 4.9% (5.0%)
* Alberta 6.6% (6.0%)
* British Columbia 7.6% (7.4%)
Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress said:
"We have now lost 406,000 full-time jobs since October 2008, and 1.55 million Canadians are unemployed. Forecasts are that the unemployment rate will continue to increase over the next 12 months and a lot of Canadians without work will be left to fend for themselves. The Harper government has to fix Employment Insurance now.
According to Georgetti, in March 2009 only 46.8% of those who were unemployed were actually receiving EI benefits. "This is a scandal," he said. "These workers contributed to Employment Insurance in good faith and now they are being left to fend for themselves. They will not be able to take their kids on a holiday this year or send them to summer camps, and when families don't have money to spend the entire community feels the pinch."
Canadian Labour Congress Senior Economist Sylvain Schetagne analyzed the situation:
* "The post-September 2008 job crisis continues. In May 2009 a net of 41,800 workers lost their jobs. In fact, 58,700 full-time workers were laid off in May 2009 but other part-time jobs were created. Overall, 406,100 full-time jobs have disappeared since last October.
* "The manufacturing sector, especially in Ontario, continues to be disproportionately hit by job losses. In Canada, 541,400 jobs in manufacturing have been eliminated since November 2002, but 337,000 of those manufacturing jobs were in Ontario. The number of workers in manufacturing in Ontario is now at its lowest level since at least the mid-1970s.
* "Canada's unemployment rate increased from 8.0 % in April to 8.4 % in May, the highest level in 11 years. In May, the number of unemployed Canadians increased by 83,800. The total number of unemployed has increased by almost 400,000 since October 2008. This represents an increase of 34.5% since last October. Canada now has 1,548,400 unemployed men and women.
* "The unemployment rate for workers aged 15 to 24 is rising rapidly, reaching almost 15% in May 2009. The labour market for students is much worse than last year. When compared to May 2008, 59,000 full-time jobs usually performed by students aged 20 to 24 years old have disappeared. The unemployment rate for these students was 18.3% in May 2009, up from 15.4% last year. These figures do not take into account the fact that many students decided not to enter the labour market this year. The participation rate for these students fell from 75.2% last year to 68.6% this year.