Nearly a quarter-million new jobs were added to the Canadian economy in August, building on job growth over recent months that has seen nearly two million jobs added since May.
As public health restrictions continue to ease across the country and businesses and workplaces reopen, more workers — immigrants included — are finding employment. Canada’s national unemployment rate has ticked down to 10.2%, down from 10.9% last month.
Moreover, more people are working more hours, thereby increasing their income.
A full-time recovery
Of the 246,000 new jobs added in August, most (206,000) were in full-time work, showing increasing confidence among employers.
Full-time employment now stands at 93.9% of pre-pandemic levels, compared with 96.1% for part-time work. In the months prior to the COVID-19 economic shutdown full-time employment had reached record highs, while growth in part-time work was relatively flat.
The latest figures bring the four-month total of new jobs to around 1.9 million since May. But because 3 million jobs were lost in March and April, Canada still has 1.1 million fewer paid workers than it did in February, before COVID-19 hit.
The pace of job recovery is also leveling off. Employment rose by 246,000 (+1.4%) in August, compared with 419,000 (+2.4%) in July. The months of May and June combined added 1.2 million new jobs.
Anticipating these jobs numbers, Rishi Sondhi, economist at TD, stated last week: “This reflects a pause, or plateau, in re-opening plans after emergency measure rollbacks bolstered the performance in the early stage of the recovery. While third quarter growth will almost assuredly be extremely strong, it can’t grow that way forever and momentum is predictably slowing.”
Immigrant employment up
More immigrants are finding jobs in Canada. Statistics Canada reports that the employment rate for very recent immigrants (those who landed less than five years ago) is now close to pre-pandemic levels (-1.5 percentage points), with immigrants who landed more than five years ago not far behind (-3.2 percentage points).
Newcomers and long-settled immigrants alike are enjoying a steady recovery within the Canadian labour market, with their employment rates now up for a fourth consecutive month.
Working from home somewhere other than home
StatsCan, the government agency that gathers these numbers, has now begun collecting data on the number of workers working from home. Their findings reveal that the “new normal” may not mean commuting 10 feet from bed to desk and the work day consisting of Zoom meeting after Zoom meeting (though that remains the default for many, including this writer).
In fact, the number of Canadians working from home has declined (in absolute and relative terms) for the fourth consecutive month. StatsCan reports that in April, at the height of the COVID-19 economic shutdown, 3.4 million Canadians who worked their usual hours had adjusted to public health restrictions by beginning to work from home. This number has fallen each month since May, when the gradual easing of public health restrictions began, and reached 2.5 million in August.
Among Canadians who worked their usual hours in August, the total number working from home fell by nearly 300,000 compared with July, while the number working at locations other than home increased by almost 400,000.
So, a future of absolutely everyone working remotely and from home is not quite yet upon us.
Where the jobs are
Every Canadian province added jobs in August, except Alberta and New Brunswick.
The charge was led by Ontario, where 142,000 new jobs were added in August, nearly all in full-time work, and the unemployment rate fell by 0.7 percentage points to 10.6%. Public health restrictions in some cities in Southern Ontario, including Toronto, had eased by mid-August, allowing more business to open and rehire. In Toronto, still the most popular immigrant destination in Canada, employment increased by 121,000 (+3.8%), nearly double the growth rate of the province, and reached 93.3% of its pre-pandemic level.
In neighbouring Quebec, employment increased by 54,000 (+1.3%) in August, building on gains of 576,000 over the previous three months and bringing employment to within 95.7% of its February level. August employment growth was entirely in full-time work and the unemployment rate fell by 0.8 percentage points to 8.7%, the fourth consecutive monthly decline. Employment in Montreal grew by 38,000 (+1.8%) in August and reached 96.0% of its pre-pandemic level.
British Columbia reported the largest jobs increase out west, up 15,000 (+0.6%). Employment reached 94.1% of its February level and the unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points to 10.7%. Vancouver’s unemployment rate stands at 12.4%, above both the provincial and national averages.
While employment in Alberta was little changed, the unemployment rate declined by a full percentage point to 11.8%. StatsCan attributes this to fewer people looking for work in Alberta.
In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia had the largest employment gain in August, up 7,200 (+1.6%), but mostly in part-time work. The unemployment rate was little changed at 10.3%, as more Nova Scotians participated in the labour market.
Nova Scotia, as well as Atlantic Canada more broadly, has coped remarkably well during the pandemic. Provincial governments have banded together to allow travel within the Atlantic region, but continue to restrict non-essential movement into the region. Extremely low levels of Covid-19 infection across the region have aided economic recovery.
After notable increases in May and June, employment in New Brunswick held steady for the second consecutive month. The unemployment rates in PEI and Newfoundland are down again, to 10.7% and 13.1%, respectively.
Opportunities for construction and engineering professionals in Canada continue to grow. Ruairi Spillane, Managing Director of Outpost Recruitment, an agency specialising in engineering and construction, states:
“With lots of uncertainty in our lives during 2020, it’s exciting to see that Canada’s construction sector remains resilient. The provinces of Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia are the star performers with major projects seeing substantial progress.
Design-build hospital experience is currently in high demand, particularly for projects in the Vancouver area, where there is plenty of infrastructure activity as well with two mega projects ramping up. Toronto is also bustling with activity, with plenty of upcoming mega projects currently at RFP stage.”
Outpost Recruitment is actively looking for candidates for projects across Canada. View the latest job postings here.
How to take advantage
In anticipation of job growth in Canada through the second half of 2020 and beyond, the Moving2Canada team has added a new feature for people who want to get a job in Canada or accelerate their career here. Readers can now opt in to hear from recruiters and employers we partner with and upload a resume to their account, all for free.
- If you already have a Moving2Canada account, sign in here and complete or update your profile to hear about job opportunities.
- If you don’t already have a Moving2Canada account, please register here and complete your profile.
We’re excited to help more newcomers and people wishing to move to Canada in their career goals.
How to get a job in Canada
We at Moving2Canada have been flooded with inquiries from people who recently moved to Canada, or who have been laid off, or whose plans to move to Canada in the near future have been affected by the pandemic.
Despite the public health crisis and economic downturn, and the anxiety and confusion that may result, now is a good time to make sure you are well positioned to take advantage when Canada’s economy recovers.
- Get your resume in good shape. This crucial step is often left down the list of job seekers’ priorities, despite being arguably the most important step of all. Read our Canadian resume guide to get going.
- Start looking at open opportunities. Some companies are still hiring. Don’t believe us? Head over to our Jobs Board, populated daily with new positions across Canada.
- Build your network. You can assemble a team to help you in your job search. With ongoing physical distancing and travel restrictions, technology is your friend here. Read our networking guide, written by award-winning entrepreneur Ruairi Spillane, for expert advice.
New and improved Jobs Board
We have worked hard over recent weeks to ramp up the number and range of job postings on our Jobs Board. Despite the severe economic downturn and impending recession, we’re adding new postings daily. Even if you don’t apply right away, visiting the Jobs Board regularly will provide a feel for job opportunities in Canada.
Don’t forget to complete or update your Moving2Canada profile to hear about job opportunities in your industry in Canada!
Want to dig deeper into the Canada Jobs Report data? Try these interactive tools, courtesy of StatsCan.