Job quality falling


Updated: 21 May 2008, 23:25

Originally written: 11 March 2006


CIBC World Markets reports that based upon job stability and compensation, the quality of employment in Canada has “trended downward since 1988.” Job quality is 12 percent lower than in 1988, and 5.7 below the 2000 level. The report comments, “it is interesting to note that our index has not been able to regain momentum in recent years despite a red-hot Canadian labour market with an unemployment rate hovering around a 30-year low.”

The report tells us that the recent impressive increase in managerial jobs has not contributed to the quality of employment. That is because “no less than one-third of these managers are self-employed.” “And the vast majority” earn significantly less than paid employees. Almost half of of the increase in managerial jobs last year was in retail sales, where the median wage of managers is $780 a week — only two-thirds of the median wage of other managers. “The title might be impressive but the pay and the stability are not as impressive.” The report suspects that the loss of 150,000 manufacturing jobs over the past year may have contributed to this drop in the quality of our employment.

Although we must be careful when drawing conclusions from short term economic changes, when a bank (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce) tells us employment quality is falling, we should at least listen. Although 18 years is relatively short term in economics, it is a significant part of our lives. So when job quality drops for 18 years, the popular idea that “life just keeps getting better” must ring hollow for many.

Because the current economic structure of society has significant negative effects upon workers, it makes sense for workers to consider a different economic structure: socialism.
 
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