The old way of measuring the job market simply isn’t showing us the real picture anymore.
There is a growing disconnect between the government figures being released on the job market, and what people are feeling on the ground.
Surveys consistently show that Canadians feel pessimistic about the economy, say the economy feels weak, are struggling with immense amounts of debt, and feel like they’re falling behind as the cost of living outstrips any gain they may get in their pay.
Meanwhile, the government releases statistics saying the job market is hitting one ‘record’ after another, with supposedly record one-month job gains and record-low unemployment.
So, what’s going on here?
First, there is almost certainly some sort of manipulation going on behind the scenes, as a desperate government does whatever they can to ensure ‘good numbers’ as the election nears.
Second, the way the government measures the economy, and particularly the job market, is brutally flawed.
For example, the latest jobs report says there were 27,700 jobs created in May.
That sounds good.
However, the number of people in the labour force – which many consider a more accurate economic gauge – fell by 49,200. Business website BNN Bloomberg said that was “one of the largest one-month declines.”
The unemployment rate is also supposedly at a record low of 5.4%. Again however, that is because 76,000 people simply gave up looking for work, and are no longer considered unemployed under the current system.
BNN also points out “The composition of the gains was not particularly robust, reflecting an increase of 61,500 among self-employed. The number of “employees’ in the economy actually declined.”
That ‘self-employed’ number is very important to look at.
In today’s economy, we are increasingly see people losing secure jobs with benefits, while then becoming self-employed in far more precarious positions. So, while there may technically be some jobs being created, the quality of those jobs is often worse, and leaves people far more vulnerable.
Unfortunately, none of that gets included or discussed when the government pushes their messaging, and the Liberal government will certainly use this latest jobs report as false confirmation of their economic policies.
That’s why we need to look at the deeper picture, because that deeper look shows us why there is such a gap between what the government is saying, and what we’re all feeling on the ground.