Economic recovery: Canada adds another 246,000 jobs in August

Alexandra Miekus
Published: September 5, 2020

Some 3 million jobs were lost following lockdowns introduced across Canada in March to contain the spread of the coronavirus. 

However, more people are now back to work. 

The results of the August Labour Force Survey released on Friday show that the recent easing of public health restrictions has meant more employment for Canadians in general and for immigrants in particular. 

 In August, employment rose 1.4% for Canadians, rising to within 5.7% of pre-COVID levels.  Meanwhile, employment for landed immigrants was up 1.6% while employment for recent immigrants was up 2.2%, an increase driven mainly by the reduction in the population of recent immigrants due to lower newcomer arrivals during the pandemic.  

The vast majority of the employment gains were in full-time positions. 

Employment growth was concentrated in the services sector (+1.5%) as opposed to the goods producing sector.  

The services sector growth was concentrated in educational services, accommodation and food services, and the “other services” industry which includes hard-hit hair and beauty salons.  

In the goods producing sector, gains in manufacturing were partially offset by declines in natural resources.    

While these gains are very good news for all Canadians, some disparities exist in the employment picture.  

The labor force participation rate for men is now within 0.2% of pre-covid levels while for women it is 1.3% below pre-covid levels – an indication that many women are engaged in non-employment related activities such as child-care.  

Unemployment rates remain higher for visible minorities as compared to people who are not members of a visible minority group.  The national unemployment rate of 11.1% (not seasonally adjusted) compared to 17.9% for Arab, 17.6% for Black, and 16.6% for Southeast Asian populations. 

Low-wage workers and youth have employment levels only 86.0% of February levels while other employees have nearly returned to pre-COVID levels (99.1% of February employment levels). This is entirely driven by the concentration of low-wage employment in hard-hit services-producing industries. 

As such, there remains plenty of room for improvement. Canada still needs to recover 1.1 million jobs that have been lost since the start of the pandemic. 

This new report, however, shows that Canada’s economic recovery is moving in the right direction. Nearly 1.9 million jobs have been recovered in recent months. In addition to the 246,000 jobs created in August, another 419,000 were recovered in July, and 1.2 million were recovered in May and June.  

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