Date: Sat, 5 Jun 1999 06:20:25 -0400
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YorkU.CA>
From: Torvald Patterson <torvald@QUEERNET.ORG>

>Date: Fri, 04 Jun 1999 12:42:27 -0700
>From: Sid Shniad <>

Study paints bleak job scene in Canada: 52% below $15 an hour

By James Cudmore, The National Post, 3 June 1999

Jobless figures don't measure underemployment, report contends

Canadian workers are underpaid and underemployed, says a report released yesterday by Ryerson Polytechnic University.

The study, conducted by the Ryerson Social Reporting Network, observes that 52% of Canadians are paid less than $15 an hour, and that 45% of the country's workforce is engaged in flexible work, with people unable to find full-time or permanent jobs.

The study, which was produced through an analysis of labour force surveys by Statistics Canada surveys, stands in sharp contrast with the oft-expressed claim that the growing Canadian economy is creating a stronger, more secure labour market.

We hear an awful lot about the new economic boom, said Dr. John Shields, the author of the study.

But, I think there is still a real question about what that means for people in the labour market.

This study clearly reveals a great wage differential between people who have stable jobs and those with flexible employment, Dr. Shields said.

The labour market is polarized between stable, secure types of employment and insecure, inadequately compensated employment.

According to Dr. Shields, 45% of Canadian workers are engaged in flexible work (defined as part-time and non-permanent), earning an average of $5 to $8 less an hour than full time workers.

The study goes on to suggest that these flexible workers have little chance of improving their wage.

All of the indicators show that this is the emerging trend, said Dr. Shields, It's the new labour market.

The Ryerson report also introduced a new employment-vulnerability measure intended to reflect the amount of underem- ployment in the society, rather than just unemployment.

Looking at traditional unemployment isn't enough, Dr. Shields said.

It masks the tremendous underemployment in our economy, people who are working part time who don't want to be. They want more work, but just aren't able to find it.

While the official unemployment rate in the country is 8.4%, the Ryerson study estimates that as many as 20.3% of Canadians are underemployed or otherwise lack employment security and an adequate level of wages.

If we look at the employment problem from that perspective, the real unemployment rate is two-and-a half times larger, Dr. Shields said.

What's really going on in the labour market is an increase in more-peripheral and more-vulnerable types of employment, Dr. Shields says.

I think that's very serious for families.