National employment continues to move in lockstep with gradual economic recovery, posting an increase of 378,000 jobs in September, according to The Conference Board of Canada.
Full-time jobs had a massive gain of 334,000. By province, the largest increase in jobs was seen in Ontario (167,600), followed by Quebec (76,700) and British Columbia (+54,800).
By proportion, the largest employment increase was registered by Nova Scotia (up 2.7%). Other markets with stronger workforces were Ontario (up 2.4%) and British Columbia (up 2.3%).
The unemployment rate fell to 9%, although it remains an open question if Canada will be able to sustain accelerated growth.
“Employment remained lower than pre-pandemic February in all provinces,” said Kiefer Van Mulligen, an economist with the board. “Canada has now recovered approximately 2.3 million of the 3.0 million jobs lost during the pandemic. However, the impact of reinstated public health measures in some provinces throughout the last month may not be fully reflected in September’s data. Uncertainty remains high over how strong the recovery in employment will be.”
Van Mulligen said that the precipitous increase in the number of infections last month suggested weaker gains in October.
“With new cases of COVID-19 rising in many provinces, some industries will likely experience a second decline (or much slower recovery) in the coming months,” Van Mulligen said.
Many industries are also still quite a distance away from their pre-pandemic workforce sizes.
“Employment in wholesale and retail trade – one of the hardest-hit sectors since February – fell in September after posting gains since May,” the board said. “Accommodations and food services (down 15.3% since February) and agriculture (down 9.7% since February) remain the furthest from a complete recovery.”