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The World of Work Now - Employment Brief

Friday, March 7, 2014
The World of Work Now Employment Brief

Unemployment Rate across Canada, February 2014

Canada 7.0%, NL 11.8%, SK 3.9%

Employment growth has been modest since August 2013 according to Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey. The national unemployment rate remains unchanged at 7.0%. Employment in the public sector fell by 51,000 in February.

Canada has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment among all countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development – outranking Germany, the US, Sweden, and Japan. According to a Canadian Policy Research Network report, one in three Canadian post-secondary graduates between the ages of 25 and 29 end up working low-skilled jobs. 60% of graduates are currently in debt, carrying an average load of $27,000.

More than 16% of young people in Ontario are unemployed, while many others are underemployed in jobs that don't utilize their talents and skills. The Conference Board of Canada estimates the skills mismatch costs the province more than $24 billion a year in lost economic opportunity.

After slipping below the 90-cent US level, the loonie has recovered some ground. Experts say the dollar is likely to weaken in the months to come.

The Bank of Canada is maintaining its target for the overnight rate at 1%, the benchmark on which many mortgages and savings rates for consumers are based.

Canada and South Korea might reach in the next days an agreement that would remove a 6.1% duty for goods imported from South Korea. Canadian affiliates of automakers have warned that such an agreement would negatively impact their operations.

The Canadian Labour Congress is asking Statistics Canada to change the way it reports on unemployment, saying a deeper analysis of the data it collects would paint a very different picture of the country's labour market.

The National Energy Board is set to release a decision on whether it will allow energy giant Enbridge to reverse the flow and increase the capacity of a pipeline that's been pumping oil between southern Ontario and Montreal for years. This decision is being delivered some four months after the federal regulator held public hearings on the Calgary-based company's proposal.

More opportunities for women in non-traditional careers: the Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women Canada will partner with BioTalent Canada to promote "careers, leadership and entrepreneurship of women in the life sciences". Although more than 60% of physical and life science graduates in Canada were women in 2013, the number of biotech companies hiring women decreased by 11.5% in the past five years.

The job market can support both boomers and youth. Although the 13.7% youth unemployment rate in 2013 was higher compared to those aged 25-44, it was also not significantly different historically, where 11.2% youth were unemployed in 2007.

Unpaid internships on the rise, drawing increasing attention. Disadvantaged youth and immigrants participate to gain strong references to compete against peers with well-connected parents while keeping their concerns silent in fear of becoming blacklisted.

Ontario, Manitoba and PEI to create their own provincial pension plan. Ontario, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island are currently working on an alternative to the federally regulated Canadian Pension Plan. Former Prime Minister Paul Martin and pension plan experts from the three provinces have joined the Ontario Technical Advisory Group on Retirement Security. The details of the new provincial plan will be announced this spring.

Chrysler has halted its appeal for $700M in government funds, much to the surprise of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. The automaker declared that its appeal had become a "political football" but it would still invest in its two assembly lines located in Ontario.

British Columbia's union leaders are calling for an increase in the minimum wage from $10.25 to $13 an hour which represents the poverty line.

Cisco, the largest maker of computer networking equipment, plans on investing $100m in one of four global innovation centres in Toronto. The other cities named as global innovation hubs are Songdo in South Korea, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and an unnamed city in Germany.

Dire skill shortage prompts the government of British Columbia and trade unions to open talks on reintroducing the province's apprenticeship program. While the premier insists on not adding construction costs to public infrastructure projects, others argue current and future talent shortages cause delays and incur additional costs.

Current industry resources and training programs don't provide enough workers to generate the projected need of an additional 13,800 to 42,800 MWs of renewable electric power between 2012 and 2022. Electricity Human Resources Canada reports that a national talent strategy must be implemented now to support the high-growth industry.

On the hunt for data analytics talent: organizations large and small, public and private have a growing demand for talent who can organize and make sense of massive amounts of existing data pertaining to all areas in business such as client preferences and staff behavior. Experts forecast Canada will need 100,000 workers in the discipline in the next 3-5 years.

Federal government renews existing labour program agreement with Quebec. The deal does not include the Canada Job Grant program, which all other provinces and territories have signed.