Canada's conservative government has proudly proclaimed that its economic action plan
is working, resulting in the healthiest economy among G8 nations. The March job figures released by Statistics Canada on Friday appear to tell a different picture. Canada lost 54,500 jobs in March, This represents the worst month for Canadian employment since 2009. The figures come on the heels of January's and February's job figures, which added jobs. The net loss of jobs for the first quarter 2013 is 26,000.
In contrast the US economy added 80,000 jobs,
lower than the 190,000 expected by economists. The US unemployment rate slipped to 7.6%, the lowest since 2009, while Canada's edged up to 7.2%. Statistics don't tell the whole story, since those not actively seeking employment, are no longer counted.
The number was much weaker than the rise of approximately 200,000 predicted by economists, and will inevitably raise new concerns about the strength of the US economic recovery.
At the same time, the US jobless rate declined to 7.6% from 7.7% in February.
The ideology of the Harper government and that of US President Obama on how to create jobs and effect economic growth are miles apart. While the Harper government believes it can achieve growth through cuts in government and taxes, the Obama administration, advocates raising taxes on those making more than $400,000 and an infusion of stimulus. In other words the US administration believes government intervention is needed, while Harper believes the private sector is the answer to economic growth.
In Canada's Economic Action Plan 2013, the conservative government says that while Canada's economy continues to grow and create jobs, there are significant challenges ahead.
While the Canadian economy continues to grow and create jobs, the challenges confronting us are significant. The global economy remains fragile. In this uncertain environment, the Government’s focus is clear: jobs and the economy.
Economic Action Plan 2013 builds on the strong foundation that was laid last year—in fact, the strong foundation that has been built since 2006—with affordable measures to create jobs, promote growth and support long-term prosperity.
The Economic Action Plan is working for you. Find out more about the initiatives, programs and services that are included in the Economic Action Plan 2013.
According to CBC
Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia lost jobs and employment edged down in Ontario. Only Nova Scotia added jobs. Jobs in the engine of economic growth, private sector jobs were down 85,000 in March. Conservatives claim that this is only a blip of one month and doesn't tell the whole picture. Nevertheless Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has estimated a growth of just 1.6 per cent for 2013.
Economists had predicted that 6,500 jobs would be added, which is more than 60,000 off the mark.
The Vancouver Sun
reports that British Columbia lost 15,000 jobs in March, the biggest spike of any province. According to Statistics Canada the majority of these jobs were lost to people aged 25 and over, and mostly in construction and accommodation and food services industries.
"The B.C unemployment rate does fluctuate a fair bit," he said. "It's not part of a trend because it has been steady over the past few months, hovering in the low six (per cent) range, so there's no reason to read that as part of a pattern yet."
The Harper government has placed all its eggs in the energy sector, relying on the Alberta oilsands and its expansion to fuel the economy. While there are moves afoot to negotiate free trade deals with Europe and Asia, it is probably time to diversify the economy.