71,200 jobs lost in November, unemployment climbs to 5.9%
The unemployment rate during the Great Depression peaked at 30%, but by 1944 had declined to 1%, a result of greatly increased government war spending. Clearly the unemployment rate is largely determined by the federal government’s fiscal and monetary settings.
That we currently have over one million Canadians actively seeking work, and that elevated levels of joblessness have existed for the last forty years is no accident. Business and financial elites benefit with some slack in the economy, so that workers will be fearful of losing their jobs, reluctant to strike, and more likely to borrow when wages are suppressed.
However, in addition to the country’s economic loss stemming from forced unemployment, the individuals involved lose their skills, lack income, and experience increased stress leading to more mental illness, addictions and family breakdowns. Yet high unemployment is neither natural nor inevitable. It is tolerated by fiscal and monetary authorities. It can be eliminated by them if an informed public were to insist.