Canada Added 231,000 Jobs in June, Pushing Unemployment Rate Down to 7.8%

Canada’s economy added 231,000 jobs last month, more than offsetting the losses seen in the previous two months as COVID-19 restrictions eased and businesses started hiring again.

Statistics Canada reported Friday that 264,000 new jobs were of the part-time variety. Full-time work actually declined by 33,000 positions. June’s numbers mean there are still 336,000 fewer full-time jobs in Canada than there were in February 2020, before COVID-19. 

Almost all of the new jobs were added among young workers between the ages of 15 and 24. There was a surge of 164,000 jobs for that demographic. That’s the biggest jump for young workers since July 2020.

The hiring spree was much more muted for people over 25. Overall employment for those in the core working years of 25 to 54 rose by just 45,000 jobs. That means that as of the end of June, there were still 162,000 fewer jobs for core-aged workers than before the pandemic.

Service sector rebound

The hiring surge came mostly in service sector jobs that were hit hardest by COVID-19 in the first place — industries such as food service, accommodation and retail. The accommodation and food service sectors added 101,000 jobs during the month, the biggest total since last July.

“Reopen and jobs will come,” TD Bank economist Sri Thanabalasingam said. “As vaccinations ramped up and provinces moved into the first stage of their reopening plans, employers moved into hiring mode, bringing in thousands of workers. There’s some way to go to get to pre-pandemic levels, but last month was an encouraging sign of things to come.”

Canada’s three most populous provinces led the way in terms of jobs, with Ontario adding 117,000, Quebec up 72,000 and British Columbia adding 42,000.

Saskatchewan lost 7,000 jobs and Manitoba lost 6,000, while Prince Edward Island lost 1,000. The job market was flat everywhere else.

In addition to the employment opportunity surge, there was a surge in people trying to find work, too, which is an encouraging sign for the economy. The total size of the labour force increased by 170,000 people in June, the data agency said.

The jobless rate ticked down to 7.8 percent, from 8.2 percent in May.

That’s the second-lowest jobless number since the pandemic began in March of 2020.

“While the details aren’t as spectacular as the headline, this is a solid report,” Bank of Montreal economist Benjamin Reitzes said of the numbers. “Look for services to keep leading the way as reopenings continue through the summer months. We’ll see how much momentum there is once we get to the fall.”


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