Last month, Canada’s economy made a good recovery. The country regained almost all the jobs lost in the previous two months. The unemployment rate was also the lowest since March 2020.
There was an increase in the number of people getting a job in February by 259,000. In December and January, this number had fallen by 266,000.
The above data is by labor Force Survey. They were conducting their monthly survey during the week of February 14 to 20.
Employment rates mean the number of people with a job as a percentage of the total population above 15 years. Unemployment is the number of people without a job as a percentage of the entire labor force.
Last month, the unemployment rate was 8.2%. This is 1.2% lower than the January data. It is the weakest for Canada since the nation went into lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Compared to February 2020, almost 599,000 (-3.1%) lesser people with jobs. At the same time, 406,000 (+50%) more people worked less than half of their normal working hours.
Total hours spent working went up by 1.4%. Profits drove this in retail and wholesale trade.
Employment Rate Improves In Industries Most Affected By the Pandemic
There was an increase in the number of people working in accommodation and food services and retail trade last month. This was after there was a list of the Covid-19-related steps.
There was a marginal change to the employment rate in the culture, recreation, and information industry. This was after several months of steady decline.
The increase in employment last month was mainly in low-paying jobs of a maximum of $17.50 per hour. This reflects the growth in the various industries with a high proportion of low-paying jobs.
Employment Gains in Scientific, Technical, and Professional Fields Exceed Pre-Pandemic Levels
There was little change to the number of employees in scientific, technical, and professional services month over month. However, overall employment in the industry went up by 5.6%.
This is in comparison to the same time in 2020. This is equal to around 86,000 more employees.
This will be the most significant year-over-year increase in any industry. Most of these profits were from British Columbia and Ontario.
There are several businesses in this industry that can work remotely. This lets them operate even during the lockdown.
The job vacancy rate for this industry was higher than the national average in December. This was after witnessing months of employment growth in the second half of last year.
An additional 75,000 people are working in the information and computer systems occupations. This is in comparison to February of last year. This number includes both technical and professional careers.
Men mostly drove these year-over-year profits. There was little change among women.
Little Change to the Employment Rates for Very Recent Newcomers
There was a fall in the number of immigrants last year due to the Covid-19-related travel restrictions. It was the lowest since 1998. Last month, there were 13.8% lesser immigrants in the labor market, which is in comparison year-over-year.
This group is of all the permanent residents landing in Canada in the last five years.
Employment of these immigrants was also down by 12.1%. This is in comparison to the same time frame last year.
Due to this, there was little chance to the employment rate of recent newcomers. This was in the period of last three months ending February. This was in comparison to the same time a year back.
For those who set foot on Canadian soil more than five years ago, employment last month was 1% below the pre-pandemic levels. Their employment rate was marginally low compared to Canadian-born workers. The immigrant employment rate was at 57.3%%, and Canadian-born worker was at 58.3%.
Importance of Employment Rate and Population Growth
Canada’s employment rate and level of employment are crucial indicators of labor market conditions. According to Statistics Canada, the employment level needs to go up for the nation to return to the pre-pandemic employment rate.
The increase in the level of employment should go beyond February 2020. This will help the level to match the population growth ever since.
The employment rate in Canada was 61.8% in February 2020. It went down to 51.5% by April. This is the lowest since comparable data became available in 1976.
Last month, the employment rate was 59.4%. This is almost 2.4% below pre-pandemic levels.
If the population were the same year-over-year, the February employment rate would have been 5.9% below the pre-pandemic rate.
This difference proves the importance of population growth in the nation’s economic recovery. Population in Canada went up. However, the low levels of immigrants slowed down the growth.
In a standard year, immigration counts for almost 80% of the nation’s population growth.
The Canadian government decided to welcome 401,000 newcomers this year. In January, immigration levels were almost similar to pre-pandemic levels. This tells that Canada is well on track to fulfill its ambitious immigration levels goal.
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