Canada's unemployment rate rises

(QMI Agency file photo)

(QMI Agency file photo)

Kristy Kirkup, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 7:38 PM ET

OTTAWA -- Canada's jobless rate is rising and some experts say this proves the economy is wavering.

The country's unemployment rate is now 7.5% - the highest it has been since April. This spring, Canada's jobless rate sat around 7% and it has been on the rise ever since.

Although 17,500 new part-time jobs were created in December, Statistics Canada says this could not offset two months of employment decline.

Groups including the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) are alarmed by the unemployment rate and want the government to act.

"Our labour market has had three bad months in a row," CLC president Ken Georgetti said. "In the upcoming budget, the federal government must shift its focus from program cuts to creating jobs."

The government is set to unveil its 2012 budget in February or March, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the government will stick to its plan to slash the $31 billion deficit on time - by 2014-2015. Government departments have been preparing for cuts of 5 to 10%.

Harper has promised make the economy the government's priority this year, but opposition parties have called on the Conservatives to create a jobs plan.

The NDP says the government should make strategic infrastructure investments to create work. It has also called for job protection measures to be implemented.

"For [Harper] to suggest there isn't a problem really is sticking his head in the sand," said New Democrat MP Chris Charlton.

The Hamilton, Ont., MP is also very concerned about youth unemployment.

Youth workers between the ages of 15-25 lost about 17,000 jobs in December.

"For the prime minister to say there is not a problem writes off an entire generation of young workers," Charlton said.


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