Economic Recovery: More immigrants employed in September

Shelby Thevenot
Published: October 11, 2020

The number of immigrants employed in the Canadian labour force climbed as September saw more people regain jobs at an accelerated rate.

Employment rose 2.1 per cent in September, a much faster rate than August when the labour force saw a 1.4 per cent jump, according to the latest Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey. Data in this report were collected from the labour market during the week of September 13 to 19. The employment rate in Canada is now within 3.7 per cent, or 720,000 jobs, of its pre-coronavirus levels. The accommodation and food services, and retail trade industries remain the furthest behind other sectors from full recovery.

Source: Statistics Canada

Employment rate of immigrants hover around pre-COVID levels

The employment rate of very recent immigrants, who had moved to Canada less than five years ago, was little changed at 63.6 per cent.

The relatively low movement is in part due the lower number of new immigrants arriving since travel restrictions went into place.

Immigrants who had landed in Canada more than five years ago saw a 1.7 per cent increase in employment, up to 57.8 per cent in September. Canadian-born workers saw an increase of 0.5 percentage points to 60 per cent.

"Immigrants who landed in Canada more than five years ago are more likely than very recent immigrants to be employed in industries where employment has been relatively less affected by COVID-19," Statistics Canada wrote in the report, listing off common sectors where immigrants are employed including health care and social assistance; public administration; as well as finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing.

An earlier Statistics Canada report found that these recent immigrants were more likely to lose employment in March and April due to their over-representation in low-wage jobs. They also were typically newer employees, and therefore more susceptible to layoffs.

U.S. and Canada have similar unemployment rates

When adjusting Canada's unemployment rate to U.S. concepts, both countries saw an unemployment rate of 7.9 per cent in September.

Canada's September unemployment rate was still 3.3 percentage points higher than pre-COVID levels.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.4 per cent higher.

Canada saw a higher employment rate than the U.S. in September.

The employment rate looks at the number of employed people as a percentage of the working age population.

At 59.7 per cent, the Canadian employment rate was 2.7 percentage points lower than February levels, whereas the U.S. was at 56.6 per cent, which is 2 percentage points lower than February.

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