COVID-19: Second Wave Restrictions Cause Canada’s Jobs Recovery To Stall

Report Shows Canada’s Unemployment Rate At 5.8% In December
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Canada employment fell for the first time since April as the second wave of coronavirus took its toll on the labour market in December. 

In the Canada jobs Labour Force Survey, employment fell by 62,600 during the month, when compared to November.

Unemployment also rose slightly, from 8.5 to 8.6 percent, as new restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19 put in place by the majority of provinces had their impact.

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Demographically, the biggest losses were seen for young people aged 15 to 24, with a loss of 27,000 jobs. The age-group remains the furthest from pre-pandemic levels of any demographic, at -10.5 percent employment.

More encouragingly, the core-aged population of 25 to 54-year-olds saw little change to their employment and unemployment numbers in December.

The group is also the closest of any to pre-pandemic employments levels, at just -1.8 percent.

Canadians aged 55 and over saw unemployment rise by 0.8 percentage points to 7.9 percent.

What Are The Labour Force Survey Highlights?

Unemployment rate (%) 8.6
Employment rate (%) 59.3
Labour force participation rate (%) 64.9
Number unemployed 1,775,800
Number working 18,553,000
Youth (15-24) unemployment rate (%) 17.7
Men (over 25) unemployment rate (%) 7.5
Women (over 25) unemployment rate (%) 6.9

Source: Statistics Canada

Provincial Canada Jobs Picture

Differing levels of COVID-19 restrictions between Canada’s provinces were reflected in their individual jobs performances in December.

“Employment declined in Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island and held steady in the other six provinces,” the Labour Force Survey stated.

In Ontario, employment fell by 11,900 jobs, with unemployment rising by 0.4 percentage points to 9.5 percent. Losses were greatest in accommodation and food services, while manufacturing employment grew by 2.1 percent.

Unemployment Rates In Canada’s Provinces

Jobs change in last month Unemployment rate (%)
British Columbia 3,800 7.2
Alberta -11,900 11.0
Saskatchewan -6,700 7.8
Manitoba -6,600 8.2
Ontario -11,900 9.5
Quebec -16,800 6.7
New Brunswick -800 9.3
Nova Scotia -9,600 8.6
Prince Edward Island -900 10.1
Newfoundland & Labrador -1,300 12.3
CANADA -62,600 8.6

Source: Statistics Canada

In Quebec, employment fell by 16,800 as new restrictions in place since early October showed in the figures. Despite this, with fewer people looking for work, unemployment fell in Quebec to 6.7 per cent, the lowest of any province.

Employment increased in professional, scientific and technical services, while there were fewer workers in health care and social assistance

British Columbia, meanwhile, was the only province to gain jobs, registering an employment increase of 3,800.

The B.C. unemployment rate was 7.2 percent, with gains in construction and losses in accommodation and food services.

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