Precarious Employment in Canada: Does the Evidence Square with the Anecdotes?
We define precarious employment as having an outsized level of uncertainty, whether in terms of pay, ongoing employment, scheduling, or other dimensions. Types of work associated with precarious employment are typically lower paying, with an income gap of between $11,600 and $18,000 in 2014 relative to jobs with less uncertainty. To help inform the public discourse on this issue, we have constructed a TD Precarious Employment Index. The empirical evidence shows that precarious employment is currently higher than it was before the 2008 recession. However, the good news is that the trend is declining and the level of the index stands at roughly the same level as in 2006. A key question is whether the decline will be maintained, and data limitations prevent us from concluding definitively that the improvement we’re seeing has staying power.