Canada’s economy added 62,000 jobs last month, which is better than economists had been expecting, but it is also the lowest total since the labour market recovery from COVID-19 began in May.
Statistics Canada reported Friday that the jobless rate ticked down four basis points to 8.5 percent. That is down from a peak of 13.7 percent in May but still well above the 5.6 percent rate seen in February, before the pandemic.
Canada lost more than a million jobs in March and another two million in April before the job market started to recover in May. According to Statscan, more than 19.1 million Canadians aged 15 or over had some job in February. Last month, that figure stood at just over 18.6 million.
There are currently 1.7 million people in Canada officially categorized as unemployed, which means they would like to work but cannot find any. Manitoba lost 18,000 jobs last month, while Ontario added 36,000 and Quebec 15,000. British Columbia added 23,000, and the Atlantic provinces added a total of 17,000.
While the overall rate of job gains is undeniably slowing, economist Royce Mendes with CIBC did see some reason for optimism in the numbers. Precisely, most of the new jobs were full-time, which boosted the total number of hours worked faster than the increase seen a month earlier by 1.2 percent. But with cases spiking across Canada and more regions locking down more parts of the economy, he thinks the streak of job gains will come to an end this month.
COVID will likely catch up with the December data’s Canadian economy, with a decline expected in both employment and overall economic activity, Mendes said.
Leah Nord with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said the job slowdown shows that the government needs to do a better job of testing for COVID-19 and to trace contacts and making much broader use of rapid testing to ensure businesses stay open for the long Canadian winter ahead. She said the short-lived partial rebound in jobs turns an unfortunate corner heading into a potentially protracted second wave. As we look forward, we believe there is an increased risk for a steady decline in employment over the coming months as governments and health authorities grapple with transmission mitigation.
Canada added 62,000 jobs in November, the slowest month of recovery since COVID-19 | CBC News. (2020, December 04). Retrieved December 15, 2020, from https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/jobs-november-1.5828156