Statistics Canada's September Labour Force Survey has reported that Canada has a 6.9-per-cent unemployment rate. This figure seemed low to me as I have seen the staggering amount of homeless in Vancouver, socialized with fellow parents trying to get back into their careers, and know of many college and university graduates who have been looking for work, in some cases for almost two years. This prompted me to contact Statistics Canada and enquire who actually was included in its survey. As it turns out there is a distinction between "unemployed" and "not in the labour force."By Statistics Canada's definition unemployed persons are those who, during the reference week:a) were on temporary layoff during the reference week with an expectation of recall and were available for work, orb) were without work, had looked for work in the past four weeks, and were available for work, orc) had a new job to start within four weeks from reference week; and were available for workIndividuals under the "not in the labour force" heading are those who were unwilling or unable to offer or supply labour services under conditions existing in their labour markets, that is, they were neither employed nor unemployed. This means that when the census was taken if a homemaker said he/she was actively looking for work they would be included in the "unemployed" category, but if they said they were unable to work for the time being because they were taking care of their children they would be in the "not in the labour force" category. Also, full-time students looking for work are exempted from the survey because they are considered to only be looking for temporary work. Then there are people who are unemployed due to a disability, old age, mental illness, new to the country, or in prison, which appear to be neither employed nor unemployed.The Encarta Dictionary describes "employed" as the condition of working for pay and "unemployed" as not in paid employment. In my opinion the 6.9-per-cent unemployment rate is misleading as there appears to be a larger amount of people in Canada who are unemployed but get segmented into an unpublicized limbo zone. If the "not in the labour force" stat were to be added to the "unemployed" statthat 6.9-per-cent unemployment rate would be significantly higher. Instead we are getting an optimistic number based on a selected portion of the population, leaving many unemployed unaccounted for.
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