Most of the job creation has been the result of population growth. The real number that shows how well the economy is performing is the employment rate: that is, the percent of people employed compared to the population.
This number includes people who have given up looking for work and are not counted in the unemployment rate.
Employment rate stuck
Our employment rate before the 2008 recession was 63.7% of the population. It dropped two points during the recession, but only recovered to 62% “where it has flat-lined for more than two years”:
“So, while Canada’s economy is indeed producing more jobs every year, it isn’t producing enough to adequately absorb the natural expansion in Canada’s labour force. The result is that a growing number of Canadians who want jobs must search longer to get them, and many are unable to find them at all.”
Alternative unemployment rate
Statistics Canada produces an alternative unemployment rate which counts discouraged workers and workers stuck in part-time jobs. This rate is still above 10%. Among young workers it’s above 14%.
Long term jobless rate higher
Before the 2008 recession, 12% of unemployed workers were jobless for 6 months; 4% for over a year. Today, 20% have been jobless for 6 months; 7% over a year.
“Much of the country’s resilience stems from policies—such as bank regulation and sound public finances—which predate Mr Harper.“ — The Economist 2010
All Harper has managed to do on the economy is take credit for the work of others and squander the advantages he inherited. When one looks at the real picture, it’s clear Harper is in way over his head.