Saturday, April 11, 2009

Manitoba statistics chief disputes unemployment figures

Manitoba's chief statistician is questioning national unemployment figures released Thursday.

Wilf Falk says while Statistics Canada provides good estimates on employment in Manitoba and other provinces, it does not accurately reflect the changes from month to month.

According to the latest StatsCan survey, Canada lost more than 60,000 jobs in March, with Manitoba losing 4,200 of those — mainly in health care, agriculture and construction.

But Falk said that is simply not true for Manitoba and the numbers don't make sense. He said Manitoba is actually facing a labour shortage in the health-care sector — not shedding jobs.

"Where in health care were there those types of job losses? And I think that's what the survey says. But in that context it is not giving us a good signal of what's really happening out there. It is probably giving us a false signal."

He said the Statistics Canada survey sample is too small and that StatsCan tracks households not individuals.