Unemployment rate falls slightly to 8.5 per cent
Canada’s employment rose by 62,000 or 0.3 per cent in November, according to Statistics Canada.
That comes after an increase of 84,000 (0.5 per cent) in October and an average of 2.7 per cent per month from May to September.
The unemployment rate was 8.5 per cent last month, down 0.4 percentage points from October, continuing the steady drop from the record high 13.7 per cent in May. The unemployment rate in February was 5.6 per cent, just prior to the COVID-19 economic shutdown.
"The Canadian labour market continued to trudge through the second wave through early November. Employment growth eased, but remained at a pace that would be quite solid in normal times,” says Brendon Bernard, economist at Indeed Canada.
“The general theme was pretty similar to the October numbers. Pandemic-exposed industries like accommodation and food services, as well as culture and recreation eased once again. However, their declines weren’t too sharp, and were more than offset by gains elsewhere, including areas like construction and transportation, which had also been lagging.
However, the latest job numbers are a bit stale, he says.
“Both the pandemic, and its resulting economic restrictions have continued to increase since the first half of November, leaving us without much of a sense of where the labour market currently stands… The Canadian labour market’s streak of gains will be in jeopardy in December, as the economic hit from the second wave really starts to bite."
Employment dropped in the industries most directly affected by pandemic-related public health restrictions, such as accommodation and food services.
However, “employment continued to approach or exceed pre-COVID levels in industries where working from home or physical distancing is more feasible, such as professional, scientific and technical services,” says the government.
For November, full-time employment rose by 99,000 or 0.7 per cent, while part-time work was little changed. Compared with pre-COVID February levels, full-time employment was down 2.9 per cent, compared with a decrease of 3.3 per cent for part-time work.
Full results from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey can be found here.