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Stop Playing Politics with Unemployed Workers

CLC's Georgetti comments on Statistics Canada employment numbers

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 02/08/13 -- The federal government should stop playing political games that stigmatize unemployed workers, says Canadian Labour Congress President Ken Georgetti.

"Recently, some cabinet ministers have tried to justify their government's policy failures by describing unemployed workers as cheats and fraudsters," says Georgetti. "The government should stop stigmatizing people who are out of work through no fault of their own, and start adopting policies that will lead to the creation of good, family supporting jobs."

Georgetti was commenting on the release by Statistics Canada of its Labour Force Survey for January 2013. "A stunning 45,800 people lost their jobs in January and most of those were full-time jobs. The government has to focus on job creation."

There were 1,322,800 unemployed Canadians in January and the unemployment rate was 7.0%. In the 15 to 24 age group, unemployment stood at 13.5% and 46.9% of young workers are employed only part-time.

The government forced legislation through parliament in 2012 that makes it more difficult for unemployed workers to receive Employment Insurance. There have been media reports that the government has provided regional offices with monthly quotas for slashing EI benefits. But according to Statistics Canada figures only 37.9% of unemployed Canadians actually qualify for Employment Insurance, and there are 5.0 unemployed people for every job vacancy.

Georgetti adds, "Unemployment is still unacceptably high and corporations that received tax breaks to create jobs are hoarding cash instead. But the government prefers to demonize the victims of the recession. This is politics at its worst and it's not going to solve the unemployment crisis."

Quick Analysis from CLC Senior Economist Angella MacEwen

Job growth in the fall of 2012 had been stronger than economic fundamentals, so many economists anticipated lower growth in January.

There was an overall loss of 45,800 jobs in January 2013 and a majority of those losses were full time jobs for core age (25-54) workers. There was a gain of nearly 24,000 self-employed workers. The unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage points to 7.0%, as discouraged workers left the job market. The real unemployment rate rose from 9.4% in December to 10.7% in January, due to an increase in discouraged workers and involuntary part-time. For youth aged 15-24, the real unemployment rate rose from a low of 16.9% in December, to 19.4% in January.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils.

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