July 2014 turned out to be a pretty bad month in Canada for jobs, compared to the United States which created over 200,000 new positions. What could be behind Canada’s job slump and are there any bright spots?
Some decline, some gains
With construction leading the decline of 42,000 jobs lost, this was our worst sector followed by Health Care. Could the fear of a housing crash and continued efforts by both federal and provincial governments to balance budgets be behind these numbers?
Education was a bright spot, adding 32,000 jobs, followed by Manufacturing with 11,500 new jobs and a little further back in the pack, Natural Resources (Mining, Forestry, Oil and Gas) created 4,600 jobs.
On the other side of the border, the United States created 47,000 jobs in Professional and Business services where Canada lost 12,700. In contrast, Canada created a little less than half of the US’ 28,000 jobs in the Manufacturing sector and half of the American jobs in Natural Resources.
On the positive side, Canada created double the number of the United States’ Educational jobs in July.
Skills training still matters
Despite the ups and downs, both countries still see skills training as equally important. Obama just signed a bi-partisan bill to support skills training and Jason Kenney is still pushing to see the Federal Jobs Grant rolled out in most provinces, a year after it was announced.
I personally do not put much faith in the government creating jobs. What I would like to see is more training geared towards self-employment. This is an area where both countries are losing ground. In July, Canada had 29,000 people leave self-employment while the US lost 3,000 self-employed positions; however, the 200 000 new American jobs will easily absorb these, while in Canada those leaving self-employed might find getting more work difficult.
Self-employment is close to my heart because I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so it would be great to see more support at all levels of government and society in Canada and the US. I’ll blog on this more later in August.