Unemployment rate remains steady for November

'Job vacancies declining non-stop since May'

Unemployment rate remains steady for November

The number of employed Canadians rose by a modest amount last month while the actual unemployment rate also went higher, sitting at 5.8%, representing a modest gain of 0.1%.

Sector-wise, the country saw more workers in manufacturing (28,000) and construction (16,000), which was offset by losses in wholesale and retail trade (27,000 less workers) and finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing, resulting in a drop of 18,000 jobs, according to the latest Statistics Canada labour force survey.

The stagnant numbers are showing that continued high interest rates are having an effect, says an economist.

“The interest rates are starting to bite like we expected them to, resulting in a stunted economy. The labour market holding strong illustrates that we are in a labour-constrained economy,” says David-Alexandre Brassard, Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA) Canada’s chief economist.

“However, the labour market has less room to manoeuvre, with job vacancies declining non-stop since May 2022 and unemployment rates going up from 5.0% to 5.8% in 2023.”

Steady jobs numbers from the provinces

Provincially speaking, the job numbers also remain static, led by N.B., which gained 2,400 new jobs. P.E.I. led in losses, dropping 1,300 positions with little change recorded in the other jurisdictions, according to Stats Can.

Year-over-year, the hourly wages rose by 4.8%, reaching an average of $1.57 to hit $34.28 in November.

“Wage pressures by themselves should not be enough to maintain inflation in unsustainable territory. On the contrary, higher interest rates seem to be sufficiently constraining and we can expect the Bank of Canada to hold their ground with no changes to the rate in next week’s announcement,” says Brassard.

October’s numbers also saw little change, at 5.7%, which continued the trend of rising numbers since April. It marked the overall increase since that month to 0.8 percentage points, according to Stats Can.

The employment rate, which measures the percentage of working-age Canadians who have a job, reached 61.8%, which down from a recent high of 62.5%, recorded in January.

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