If it wasn’t for bad jobs there woudn’t be any jobs at all

IT’S TOUGH TO FIND A GOOD JOB THESE DAYS. So tough even the banks admit it. That’s just what the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce did in its latest economics report. Here’s their first sentence, “Is the quality of employment in Canada in decline?” Their answer: “We think so.” NFK!

It’s always a game of economic snakes and ladders when you take a look at their charts. But as usual, it’s mostly a bag of snakes when it comes to quality jobs for Canadians of all ages, especially young people.

Part-time jobs rising

The CIBC report notes:

There was an unmistakable jump in the share of part- timers in the Canadian labour market during the recession. The rate rose from 18% to 20% during the recessionary peak. But at the current 19.3%, that share is still elevated. The contributing factor here was the jump in part-time jobs during the year ending October 2016, with part-time jobs accounting for no less than 90% of all jobs created.

We are losing full-time jobs in traditional industries and gaining part-time ones in the service and retail sector.

TRANSLATION: More part-time jobs at minimum wage.

Full-time employment compensation falling

The CIBC report notes:

The compensation distribution of full-time paid-employment has worsened over the past decade with the number of jobs in lower-paying industries rising faster.

Historically there has been a fairly stable relative compensation position over the years. Primary industries such as logging, mining along with sectors such as transportation and electronics enjoy relatively high levels of compensation. By comparison, jobs in many service industries, as well as in retail and wholesale trade, have traditionally had the lowest level of compensation. As more jobs are created in these secondary industries, even full-time ones, they lower the overall salary and compensation levels for the entire labour market.

TRANSLATION: Fewer full-time jobs and lower pay for the ones that are created. More minimum wage level jobs, just more hours.

Share of young Canadians in job market declining

A lineup of people holding briefcases that read Ready for Work

The share of young Canadians in the labour force has been on the decline for the last 30 years but with the demographic surge of the millennials it was expected and should be expected to rise. Instead, it continues to remain at historic lows, about 15% of the total workforce. According to the CIBC report this has a tendency to lower the overall compensation levels even further and contributes to the rise of lower-paying jobs.

TRANSLATION: You didn’t really need this translation to know that young people are getting screwed in the current labour market.

What does all of this mean?

The CIBC report says:

It suggests that the distribution of employment in Canada is not as favourable as it used to be, looking strictly at compensation. Lower quality employment might help to explain the sluggish growth in personal income in the past two decades.

TRANSLATION: Still screwed and may be screwed for a long time to come.

We didn’t need a big bank to tell us this. We are living this everyday in our personal lives, in our communities and in our families. There’s nothing we can do about it. Right?

There are a thousand things we can do differently. If we choose to. If we act together. Here are just two suggestions. Tell us yours.

Reform the tax system

Since the 1990’s governments at all levels have given $90 billion a year in tax cuts to the very rich and big corporations like the banks. Let’s take back some of that money and put it into training and employment programs for young people.

Find out more about Tax Reform here: Canadians for Tax Fairness

Increase the minimum wage to a living wage

While we make the system better, there’s no reason for millions of Canadians to scrimp and starve in minimum wage jobs. Join a campaign for a “Living Wage” in your community.

Find out more here: Living Wage

We don’t need to be told we’re screwed. We need a new industrial strategy for Canada. Join us.