Canada’s labour market gained 84,000 jobs in October

Alexandra Miekus
Published: November 9, 2020

Canada added another 84,000 jobs in October, which is significantly slower employment growth compared to the month before.

Between August and September, there were 378,200 jobs created in Canada's labour market.

Throughout October, restrictions were re-imposed across Canada in response to the increase in COVID-19 cases, leading to slower employment growth.

At the same time, there was very little change in the unemployment rate compared to September, according to Statistics Canada's latest Labour Force Survey.

In October, the unemployment rate in Canada was 8.9% compared to 9.0% the month before.

The survey also states that for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of self-employed workers increased by 33,000.

Among those who worked at least half of their usual hours, the number working at home also increased by 150,000.

The demographic groups that benefited most from the increase in employment were women in the core 25-54 age group, while youth employment remained well below pre-pandemic levels compared with all other major age groups.

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Labour market conditions varied considerably from province to province

The Canadian provinces that saw an employment increase in October are Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island. Other Canadian provinces saw little change in employment rates.

British Columbia led the way in October, gaining 34,000 jobs, most of them full-time.

Ontario was second with 31,000 new jobs created in October, mainly in wholesale and retail trade, and manufacturing.

Alberta added 23,000 jobs in October, increasing its employment rate for the fifth consecutive month after large job losses, with most of the employment gains occurring in Calgary.

Employment in Newfoundland and Labrador increased by 5,900 in October, and in Prince Edward Island by 900.

Increases in many industries offset by a decrease in accommodation and food services

Statistics Canada indicated that while there were employment rate increases in several industries, they were offset in part by a loss of 48,000 jobs in accommodation and food services, mainly in Quebec.

The information, culture and recreation industry also experienced important declines in employment in Quebec, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.

Employment in transportation, warehousing and construction remained largely unchanged in October.

However, employment in wholesale trade, professional, scientific, and technical services, as well as educational services increased and even surpassed pre-pandemic levels.

Data from Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey provide important insights into the employment and recovery impacts of COVID-19. The unemployment rates, industry trends, regional and demographic variations, and national trends provided in these reports can be used to inform policy decisions, such as where to direct spending on education, training, and income assistance.

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