PRESS RELEASE: MARCH 13, 2009

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Georgetti says recession will get worse if government fails to fix EI

OTTAWA – Canadian workers have been hit with more staggering job losses and the President of the Canadian Labour Congress says that shock is giving way to outrage among laid off workers.

"The hard working people of this country are getting hammered by job losses. People are fed up with a government that refuses to fix the Employment Insurance program.  Simply put, if the government doesn’t fix the problems with EI now, this recession will get a lot worse, more people will suffer and the recovery will take longer," says Ken Georgetti.

Statistics Canada reports that another 83,000 jobs were lost in February, pushing the unemployment rate to 7.7% and increasing the number of Canadians who want to work but cannot find a job to over 1.4 million.  Since October, 295,000 jobs have been lost, most of them full-time.  However, the latest data available also shows that the EI program was only able to help 45% of unemployed workers in December.

Georgetti says Employment Insurance is an important form of economic stimulus.  "It helps people deal with tough times like these.  It ensures that while the mill or the factory is shut down, money is in peoples’ pockets so the grocery store, shops and other services in the community aren’t driven out of business too."

Quick Analysis from Senior Economist, Sylvain Schetagne

•    The unemployment rate is up, now at 7.7% (it was 7.2% in January).
•    The unemployment rate is back to where it was in July 2003, more than five years ago.
•    The number of Canadians who lost their job last month: 83,000.
•    The number of full-time jobs lost last month: 110,000.
•    The number of full-time jobs lost so far this year: 225,000.
•    Canadian workers who have lost their jobs since October 2008: 295,000.
•    Canada now has over 1.4 million unemployed men and women.  This represents an increase of 23% since last October.
•    The construction sector was hardest hit in February, as were men aged 25 to 54.  Young workers also took a hit last month, pushing their unemployment rate to 14.2%, the highest since 2001.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.2 million Canadian workers.  The CLC brings together Canada’s national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils.  Website: www.canadianlabour.ca

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