What to Expect from the Canadian Job Market

After adding 245,800 jobs to the economy in August, Canadian employment numbers continued to climb in September to 378,200 in September according to Statistics Canada. But, this success rate of mostly full-time positions (44,000 part-time) is unlikely to repeat itself as the second wave of COVID hits.

There is now expected to be 720,000 employment positions left to recover, an estimated 76% of the 3 million jobs lost across Canada has been recovered since the beginning of the pandemic in March. This is comparatively better than the 56% recovery rate in the United States.

Before COVID-19 Canada’s unemployment rate was 5.6%, is then flew to 13.7% in May which is the highest rate on record. In August the rate declined to 10.2% but with the new influx of jobs in September, the rate has pushed down to 9% which leaves economists hopeful for the Canadian labor market going into 2021.

4.2 million Canadians are currently working from home, which is twice as much compared to the beginning of the year. 1.3 million workers are still working, but comparatively less to their normal rates, and 1.8 million people are officially categorized as unemployed but able and actively seeking work.

After back to school season, 68,000 education workers helped boost the employment rate in September which allowed parents to do the same. Statistics Canada reported that the education service industry also had a growth of 35,700 jobs. Education jobs are now 2.6% higher than in February.

TD Bank economist Sri Thanabalasingam says “school reopenings have proved to be very tricky with the pandemic now entering the second wave, and the pressure is increasing for provinces to undertake tighter restrictions to control the spread of the virus.”

Statistics Canada broke down the total number of jobs lost since the beginning of the pandemic by industry; 188,000 were left unemployed in accommodation and food services, though the industry rose by 71,900, meaning total jobs are still down by 15.3%.

120,300 in construction jobs were lost since March, the industry still remains 8.1% lower than at the beginning of the year. With little change, it still remains one of the weakest industries.

Other industries that saw job losses were; retail trade (145,000), transportation and warehousing (82,400), business building and other support services (58,600), information culture and recreation (44,600), health care and social assistance (37,400), agriculture (29,300), manufacturing (14,500), natural resources (11,800), public administration (9,100) and finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (2,200).

4 industries that gained job opportunities throughout COVID were utilities (4,800), professional scientific and technical services (9,400), and wholesale trade (19,900).

Minimum wage employees, which is anyone earning less than $16.03 an hour, has decreased to 22.1% as a group compared to last year, all other groups combined is up by 2.3%.

Breaking the numbers down by province, Ontario’s employment number are performing well increasing by 167,000, Quebec at 76,000, and B.C at 54,000.

With unemployment numbers decreasing more each month, there is still progress to be made as there are many Canadian’s still struggling to regain their footing after mass lay-offs in March and April.

A new K shape recovery pattern was introduced to the market in September which according to CBC, is shorthand for the notion that hardships are not being shared equally. Rather than following a linear pattern the economy is dividing into two.

After the announcement of stable employment numbers, real estate success has also played a hand in the K pattern. “Improving economic conditions and extremely low borrowing costs sustained record-level sales in September” states TRRED president Lisa Patel.

“There is the economic income side, but there is a whole other mental health side here as well that is certainly a factor now,” says Leah Nord of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Parents have dealt with ongoing economic and societal stress, with children back to school there is no additional time to seek new job opportunities but there are many hardships to face as shifts in industries and lower salary expectations are stresses they have to face.

As the government moves from CERB to CRB while employment rates rise, the Canadian economy should expect a stable final quarter and hopeful transition into 2021.

By Surina Nath

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