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Canada’s employment sees some recovery in June

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Worker wearing surgical mask

Canada saw some economic recovery in June, though gains in employment did not quite match up to losses from the third wave.

Employment was up 231,000 last month, according to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. The data reflected Canada’s labour market conditions during the week of June 13 to 19.

In the two months prior, Canada saw a cumulative job loss of 275,000. Canada’s employment was on an upward trajectory following a slow down between November and January. With third-wave restrictions hitting in March, employment fell once again in April and May.

Restrictions started to lift in the weeks leading up to the reference week. Many restaurants, retail, personal care services, and other recreational activities had resumed in eight of Canada’s provinces.

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For example, Ontario lifted its stay-at-home order on June 2. Outdoor dining and some non-essential shopping were also allowed, although, indoor dining and gyms, as well as personal care services, remained closed during the reference week.

Despite these restrictions, Ontario was one of the four provinces to see employment growth in June. The others were B.C., Quebec, and Nova Scotia.

Immigrant employment in June

Immigrants have generally seen a slower recovery rate. The employment rate in June among immigrants who had been in Canada for more than five years was at about 57 per cent, down two percentage points compared with February 2020. Compared to Canadian-born workers who were employed at a rate of about 60 per cent, down just more than one percentage point over the same period.

Very recent immigrants, who landed within the past five years, have seen a higher rate of employment. This is due to the number of newcomers falling as a result of coronavirus-related travel restrictions. In the three months ending in June, the number of very recent immigrants was down nearly 12 per cent while their employment was down nearly seven per cent. As a result of their population falling faster than their employment, the employment rate for this group was almost 68 per cent in June, up nearly four percentage points compared with pre-pandemic levels.

Monitoring economic recovery

The employment rate is calculated by the number of people employed as a percentage of the population of people over age 15. Therefore, to understand Canadian labour market trends, part of the puzzle is to consider how employment changes compare to population changes.

Between February 2020 and June 2021, Canada’s population grew slightly more than one per cent, or 334,000. In order to keep pace with this growth, employment would have had to grow in that time frame by 203,000, instead, it dropped by 340,000. The employment rate was nearly two percentage points lower in June 2021 compared to February 2020.

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