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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Unemployment



I received a CNN message recently stating:

Economists say at least 150,000 jobs must be created each month simply to keep pace with the growing population.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 8.1% from 8.3%.

Even though this is American news, I think Canada feels much the same.  They talk about job creation and a decrease in unemployment.

Let’s tackle one issues at a time.

Just because the unemployment rate fell from 8.3% to 8.1% doesn’t mean that a number of unemployed people got jobs.  It means that a number of the unemployed lost their benefits. 

I don’t know how it is in the States, but here in Canada when an employee gets laid off, he or she is allocated a certain amount of weeks of unemployment benefits depending on the time he or she worked.  Obviously, the longer a person worked, the more weeks of unemployment he receives.  From what I hear, 42 weeks is the maximum.

Once the allocated weeks are up, the person loses his benefits, in many cases without warning.  Which is why it makes me bloody mad when the government issues proud statements that the unemployment has gone down, it hasn’t, some people are just cut off and left without income.

As for creating jobs ... I can’t quite picture how that works.  Are these jobs created out of thin air?  How does one exactly create a job?  And not just one job mind you, but 150,000 jobs a month.  Please, who do they think they’re fooling?

If an office can run its day to day business with 100 people, they’re not going to employ 110 people.  If a construction site can build a building with 30 people, they’re not going to hire an extra 5.  What are those extra hands going to do?  If extra help is needed, fine, extra people are hired, but businesses are not expanding at such a rate that 150,000 jobs a month can be created.

If anything, lay offs have increased and more and more people are looking for work.  As a temp, I’m feeling the pinch more than ever.

Companies used to call on temps to stand in for absent workers.  That service has decreased.  These days, when an employee is absent, sick or on vacation, his or her duties are divided among other employees.  They are cross trained and over for each other.  Bringing in temps is in many companies a thing of the past. 

It’s all good and well for a politician to stand on a podium and promise to create jobs, but I wonder how that actually works in reality.  Businesses probably think “We don’t need extra help”, while the unemployed shrug their shoulders, roll their eyes and think “Yeah, right”.

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