Canada has not yet made up all of the jobs the economy lost during the recession, contrary to earlier official reports, according to a Statistics Canada report released Friday.
Statistics Canada reported a revision to its Labour Force Survey that shows as of December, Canada's economy is still 30,000 official jobs below the employment peak hit in October 2008.
That's because of a change in the way the data agency tabulates the data. Prior estimates were based on the 2001 census, but the agency now has all the information from the 2006 census, so it has revised the data going back all the way to 1996.
"With this revision, the total Canadian population has been revised downward 0.3 per cent," the agency said in a release.
"It takes a while to get all the data necessary," said Jeannine Usalcas, a spokesperson from the agency's Labour Statistics Division. "The census sometimes misses some people or they are counted twice, so there's a post-census survey to get a correct count."
That count found the discrepancy in the country's true population and thus, its labour force.
Between the employment peak of October 2008 and the recent low in July 2009, the revised LFS estimates show an employment decline of 428,000 or 2.5 per cent, the agency said.
Between July 2009 and December 2010, the revised LFS estimates indicate employment increased by 398,000, or 2.4 per cent.
Statistics Canada data shows Canada's population was 33,441,300 in October 2008 and 34,238,000 in October 2010 — a difference of 796,700.
For December 2010, overall employment was revised down 0.6 per cent, mostly the result of a downward revision of the population aged 25 to 54.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty issued a statement in reaction to the news Friday, noting that the downwards revision was routine, and Statistics Canada updates its numbers in a similar fashion every five or six years.
"The estimates for the performance of the Canadian economy have not changed," Flaherty said. "The Canadian economy has created 400,000 jobs since July 2009 — the strongest job growth in the G7 — and the economy has grown for five straight quarters."
The unemployment rate remains at 7.6 per cent as previously reported, Flaherty noted.