Canada employment growth slows in November

Shelby Thevenot
Published: December 8, 2020

Although Canada's labour market still saw improvements in November, the rate of recovery is continuing to slow.

Statistics Canada's recently released Labour Force Survey looked at Canada's labour market conditions during the week of November 8 to 14. Overall findings reveal that employment rose 0.3 per cent in November, which followed an increase of 0.5 per cent in October. Employment growth was dragged down by declines in information, culture and recreation as well as accommodation and food services. Growth in the public sector was lead by increased employment in hospitals and schools.

Unemployment is still falling from peak levels in May, when unemployment was 13.7 per cent. In November, unemployment was at 8.5 per cent, which is down 0.4 percentage points from October levels.

There were more Canadians, 372,000, who got jobs in November, than there were Canadians who transitioned from employment to unemployment, 317,000.

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Immigrant performance in Canada's labour market

Although Canadians generally have higher employment rates, some groups of immigrants were seeing employment rates closer to pre-COVID levels than Canadians. Immigrants who had landed in Canada more than five years ago saw an employment rate of 58.1 per cent in November, just 1.2 percentage points away from February levels. Employment rates for Canadian born workers were up to 59.7 per cent, down 1.7 percentage points. Statistics Canada notes that these figures are not adjusted for seasonal employment rates.

The number of very recent immigrants, who came to Canada within the past five years, has reduced due to travel restrictions. The employment rate of these new immigrants was at 65.6 per cent, which is little changed from February levels.

Variations across provinces

Employment rose in Ontario, British Columbia, and all four Atlantic provinces. B.C. came in just shy of February levels at -1.5 per cent. Employment in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick had returned to pre-pandemic levels in November. Prince Edward Island gained about 1,000 jobs.

Manitoba saw its first employment loss since April, with about 18,000 jobs lost in November. Nearly all of these losses were in part-time work. The decline coincided with tighter public health measures introduced early on in the month.

The number of people with a job or business held steady in Quebec, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Employment levels in Alberta are the furthest from pre-COVID levels at -4.9 per cent.

Employment in Quebec was little changed for the second month in a row. Unemployment in Quebec fell 0.5 per cent to 7.2 per cent, as fewer people were on temporary layoff.

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