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Canada’s labour market continues to outrun COVID-19

While the number of COVID-19 cases continues to surge in many areas of the country, Canada’s job market remained resilient in November.

According to the November Labour Force Survey results released by Statistics Canada on December 4, the nation added 62,100 jobs last month, triple the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey, and down only slightly from October’s gain of 83,600 new jobs.

November also saw an increase in the number of Canadians working full-time. Full-time employment rose by 99,000 (+0.7%) in November, while part-time work saw little change.

The unemployment rate also dropped to 8.5% from 8.9% in October, continuing the steady fall from the record high of 13.7% in May.

British Columbia continues to see employment growth, adding another 24,000 jobs in November, despite increased restrictions due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley regions. In the last six months, the province has added 335,000 jobs and the employment level is now just 1.5% below what it was pre-pandemic in February. British Columbia has had the highest recovery rate of any of Canada’s four largest provinces.

The province’s unemployment rate has fallen to 7.1%, well below the national average of 8.5%.

Construction, wholesale and retail trade, and the public sector led the increase in employment across the country. While employment fell the most in accommodation and food services, and information, culture and recreation.

The number of public sector employees grew by 32,000, exceeding its pre-COVID level by 1.5%, with the increase mostly driven by increases in hospital and elementary and secondary schools.

The number of hours worked rose by 1.2% in November but is still down 5% since February. The labour market has recovered 81% of the three million jobs lost in March and April.

Not surprisingly, the increase in COVID-19 infections has also brought with it an increase in the number of Canadians working from home for the second consecutive month. In November, 4.6 million Canadians worked from home, an increase of about 250,000 from October and included 2.5 million people who do not usually work from home.

Read the full November Labour Force Survey results here.


Published on Dec. 9, 2020.