Statistics Canada says the economy created 157,000 jobs in September, returning employment to pre-pandemic levels for the first time.
The unemployment rate fell to 6.9% from 7.1% in August.
According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate would have been 8.9% in September, down from 9.1% in August, if it had included in the calculations Canadians who wanted to work but were not looking for work.
The last time Canada experienced such a significant job gain was in June 2021, when the economy created 231,000 jobs.
The statistics agency says job gains were widespread, but concentrated in full-time work and evenly distributed between the public and private sectors. Gains have also been notable in industries where many workers continue to work remotely.
Yet the ranks of the long-term unemployed who have been out of work for six months or more remained little changed in the past month and were still double the number recorded in February 2020.
Leah Nord, senior director of workforce strategies at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, says the fact that nearly 400,000 Canadians are long-term unemployed should put all the celebrations on hold, especially without data to explain why they haven’t been able to join the workforce in months.
“Canadians want to work, most are not unemployed by choice, so we need to dig in and find out exactly what is holding them back so that we can make evidence-based decisions,” she said in a statement.
“Our full economic recovery depends on it.”
Retail employment also fell by 20,000 in September, bringing employment in the sector to less than 71,000 jobs, or 3.1%, from its February 2020 level. Statistics Canada notes that despite the Loosening of restrictions across Canada, employment in the industry has been at about the same level since June.
A similar story has occurred in the hard-hit accommodation and food industry, which experienced its first decline in five months, with 27,000 jobs being lost after gaining 211,000 positions between May and August.
The statistics agency also notes that the employment rate remains just below the pre-pandemic figure, reflecting the fact that job growth has not matched population growth over the 19 last months.
CIBC chief economist Royce Mendes said the month’s headlines likely sealed the Bank of Canada’s deal to further ease the pace of its bond buying program later this month .
He adds that there is still some way to go to completely clean up the labor market.
Here is a snapshot of employment in Canada in September (previous month’s figures in brackets):
- Unemployment rate: 6.9% (7.1)
- Employment rate: 60.9% (60.5)
- Participation rate: 65.5% (65.1)
- Number of unemployed: 1,421,800 (1,440,000)
- Number of work: 19 131 200 (18 974 100)
- Youth unemployment rate (15-24 years): 11.3% (11.6)
- Unemployment rate for men (25 years and over): 6.4% (6.6)
- Unemployment rate for women (25 years and over): 5.9% (6.0)
Here are last month’s unemployment rates by province (previous month’s figures in brackets):
- Newfoundland and Labrador 13.1 percent (12.1)
- Prince Edward Island 11.3% (10.6)
- Nova Scotia 8.0 percent (7.8)
- New Brunswick 9.3 percent (9.3)
- Quebec 5.7% (5.8)
- Ontario 7.3 percent (7.6)
- Manitoba 5.6 percent (5.7)
- Saskatchewan 6.3 percent (7.0)
- Alberta 8.1 percent (7.9)
- British Columbia 5.9% (6.2)
Statistics Canada also released seasonally adjusted three-month moving average unemployment rates for major cities. He cautions, however, that the numbers can fluctuate considerably because they are based on small statistical samples. Here are last month’s unemployment rates by city (previous month’s figures in brackets):
- St. John’s, NL 6.3% (6.9)
- Halifax 7.0 percent (7.5)
- Moncton, NB 6.4 percent (6.0)
- Saint John, NB 8.7% (8.7)
- Saguenay, Que. 5.3 percent (5.5)
- Quebec 4.1 percent (4.4)
- Sherbrooke, Que. 4.5 percent (5.2)
- Trois-Rivières, Que. 5.1 percent (5.0)
- Montreal 6.7 percent (7.0)
- Gatineau, Que. 4.4 percent (5.2)
- Ottawa 5.9 percent (6.5)
- Kingston, Ont. 7.2 percent (7.2)
- Peterborough, Ont. 6.6 percent (6.2)
- Oshawa, Ont. 7.6 percent (8.3)
- Toronto 8.9 percent (9.3)
- Hamilton, Ont. 6.3 percent (7.0)
- St. Catharines-Niagara, Ont. 8.2 percent (10.5)
- Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, Ont. 7.2 percent (7.0)
- Brantford, Ont. 6.1 percent (5.7)
- Guelph, Ont. 6.0 percent (7.2)
- London, Ont. 7.3 percent (7.8)
- Windsor, Ont. 10.4 percent (10.6)
- Barrie, Ont. 6.2 percent (7.1)
- Greater Sudbury, Ont. 8.4 percent (8.7)
- Thunder Bay, Ont. 6.3 percent (6.0)
- Winnipeg 6.4 percent (7.1)
- Regina 6.1 percent (6.2)
- Saskatoon 7.8% (8.1)
- Calgary 8.9 percent (9.6)
- Edmonton 8.2 percent (8.2)
- Kelowna, BC 5.4% (5.7)
- Abbotsford-Mission, BC 6.9% (5.9)
- Vancouver 6.7 percent (7.2)
- Victoria 4.2 percent (4.2)
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 8, 2021