Economy lost 68,000 jobs in May, unemployment rate edged up to 8.2%
The Canadian labor market cut 68,000 jobs last month as tighter public health restrictions continued or were introduced in many parts of the country to slow the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Data from Statistics Canada’s Labor Force Survey released on Friday showed the employment rate to be 8.2 percent, down from 8.1 percent in April, leaving employment 3 percent below average. pre-pandemic levels.
Most of the jobs lost, 54,000, were part-time, following a drop of 78,000 in April. The number of people working full time fell by only 13,800, following a drop of 129.00 the previous month.
Ontario and Nova Scotia were the only provinces to record employment declines in total employment. The Statistics Canada report said the extension of Ontario’s stay-at-home order was responsible for most of the decline in employment. The drop in Nova Scotia was largely due to the province going into lockdown at the end of April.
Ontario’s unemployment rate was set at 9.3 percent, up from 9.0 percent in April. Nova Scotia’s rate was 9.8 percent, compared to 8.1 percent. Employment increased in Saskatchewan – its unemployment rate was 6.3%, down 6.6% – while there was little change in all other provinces.
Manufacturing and construction reported job losses
The number of people working in the manufacturing sector fell by 36,000, down 2%, making it the first such decline in the industry since April 2020, according to the Labor Force Survey. Ontario and Quebec were responsible for most of the overall decline in the sector.
“Despite the fiery real estate market, construction also posted a second straight decline, with Ontario restricted to only essential projects,” Bank of Montreal economist Douglas Porter said in a note.
Nearly 16,000 lob losses have been reported in construction, mostly due to the Ontario pandemic restrictions implemented on April 17, according to the survey.
The country has lost more jobs than expected, said Sri Thanabalasingam, Senior Economist at TD Economics. But he said accelerating the vaccine rollout could give employers extra confidence and boost hiring plans. “
“That said, the drop in turnout this month is concerning,” Thanabalasingam said.
“With fewer people engaged in the labor market, Canada could face labor shortages as demand for labor recovers faster than supply. This will be an area to watch closely in the months to come. “
“I think the whole situation is still, in our opinion, constructive, but it’s going to take time; it will not happen in a few months, ”Jimmy Jean, vice-president and chief economist of Desjardins Group, told CBC News. .
Jean said a mix of factors is behind reports of possible labor shortages in the future. He said “a lot of people are uncomfortable” about returning to the workforce, some wondering if it is safe. Others evaluate government benefits, as some programs can more than compensate those earning minimum wage
The number of discouraged job seekers remains high
While the number of unemployed overall remained relatively stable in May, more people dropped out of the labor force, people Statistics Canada calls “discouraged researchers.”
The report said there were 49,700 people who wanted work but did not look for work in April, “due to economic conditions or because they believe no work is available.” That’s down from the record 146,000 in April 2020, but still more than double the 22,000 average seen in 2019.
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The Statistics Canada report said the country will continue to emerge from the third wave of the pandemic over the coming months, and noted that employment rebounded at a “record pace” last summer as the country exited. of the first round of public inquiries. health restrictions.
He said that since the May figures were compiled, restrictions have eased in several jurisdictions. In British Columbia, for example, many indoor and outdoor activities resumed on May 25. Quebec ended its nighttime curfew and reopened outdoor terraces on May 28, while Ontario’s stay-at-home order expired on June 2, making way for the first phase of its plan. reopening will begin on June 14.