This is the latest ad from the Ontario PC Party, which has built its campaign around what it calls its “Million Jobs Plan”. In short, Hudak believes that if Ontarians can leave the PCs in charge in government for the next eight years, the province will end up with 1 million more net new jobs. Western University economist Mike Moffatt has put that promise in context and, in his judgement, believes that that is an “ambitious — but not impossible — target.”
But in this new ad, Hudak is not talking about the million jobs he will create in 8 years. In this ad, he is standing in the legislature at Queen’s Park and and says: “There are 1 million people out of work.” Now I’m assuming that, as this is being released in the midst of an Ontario general election and he made that comment in the Ontario legislature, we ought to interpret what he said as there are 1 million Ontarians out of work. But that’s just not true.
In April 2014, the month for which we have the most recent data from Statistics Canada, there were 555,600 who described themselves as “unemployed.” (Mind you: There were 1.33 million Canadians out of work. Maybe Hudak was talking but all of Canada, but even then, he’d be underselling the problem by 300,000). Now wait, says my former colleague and now PC Party communications person Jacqui Delaney, what about those who have simply given up?
— Jacqui Delaney (@JacquiDelaney) May 19, 2014
But Statistics Canada does try to capture those who have “given up” by measuring the size of the work force each month and the labour force participation rate. The work force is equal to all those who have a full-time job, a part-time job plus all those who say they want but do not have any kind of job. In other words, work force = employed + unemployed. If the size of the work force shrinks by 1 per cent but the population remains table, you could conclude that some and perhaps all of that 1 per cent had given up looking for work and left the “work force.” (Even though some may have retired, gone back to school, decided to stay at home to raise their kids or died.)
Well, in Ontario, the labour force grown whether you measure the last 12 months or measure from the time of the last provincial election in Sept. 2012. In the last 12 months, Ontario’s work force is bigger by 115,000 and since October 2011 bigger by 165,00! So if Hudak is including all those “who have given up” in addition to those who StatsCan says are unemployed, well, we’re in a pickle here because 165,000 have given up “giving up” and jumped into the work force.
Okay, say my Twitter followers who are cheering for Tim Hudak, what about all those Ontarians who left the province because they couldn’t find work? Well, Statscan tracks those people too. (Table 051-0017 if you want to look it up) as I tweeted:
In 2013, 70,529 arrived from other provinces to live in Ontario. 83,568 Ontarians left for other provinces. Net: Ontario lost 13,039 people.
— David Akin (@davidakin) May 19, 2014
So we could add the unemployed (550,600) plus “left the province” (13,039) and we get 563,639 in the most broadest definition of “out of work.” But even that’s no way close to “1 million out of work.”
Some PC supporters think I’m being too tough on the PCs by pointing out their wonky math here.
— Sandy Crux (@sandycrux) May 19, 2014
Here’s some other random notes on what I’ll call the “Jobs Record” for the 31 months that the McGuinty-Wynne government, (elected in October 2011) existed.
- Ontario’s population grew in that time by 345,900 people or 3.2 per cent.
- Ontario’s labour force grew by 165,000 or 2.3%.
- Total number of jobs grew by 189,800 or 2.9%.
- Full-time jobs grew by 206,900 or 3.9%.
- Part-time jobs decreased by 17,100 or 1.3%.
- The number of unemployed people dropped by 24,800 or 4.1 per cent.
- The unemployment rate in Sept. 2012 was 7.7%. Today it’s 7.4%
- The labour force participation rate dropped from 66.5% to 66.1 % today, the same as the national labour force participation rate.
- There are 203,000 more private sector workers than October 2011.
- There are 19,800 fewer public sector workers (public sector could mean municipal, provincial or federal employee here).
- There are 12,000 fewer manufacturing jobs in Ontario.
Source for all the data here? Statistics Canada. The calculations and errors, on the other hand, are all mine.