Canada’s economy blew past expectations in November, adding 153,700 net new jobs, mostly in the private sector. That’s around four times the 37,500 gain economists were predicting for last month.

Unemployment in Canada now stands at a pandemic low of 6 percent, edging ever closer to the 5.7 percent rate seen in February 2020. Unemployment skyrocketed to 13.7 percent in May 2020 after initial pandemic shocks, but has since trended steadily lower.

Canada’s job market now boasts nearly 200,000 more jobs than it did before the pandemic, leading Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland to state recently that Canada has recovered 101 percent of the jobs lost to the “COVID recession.

The Deputy PM added: “Today there are more active businesses in Canada than there were before the pandemic hit.”

And these businesses need workers — more than one million of them.

To put that in context, around 19.3 million workers are currently employed in Canada, but the economy currently has capacity for well over 20 million.

This gives workers plenty of leverage in Canada’s job market, with workers on the whole moving up the wage scale. The average hourly wage has increased by $2.18 in the last two years, and the ranks of workers earning more than $30 an hour has swelled by more than a million, from just under six million to close to seven million.

Canada’s job market is currently a seller’s market.

Pandemic emergency benefits wind down

The main government income support programs that have been in place in some form for most of the past 20 months wound down in October. This included the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), which itself had evolved from the initial Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Pandemic-related Government income support programs are now more niche, targeting particular workers in particular situations, rather than being broad in scope.

“A possible, and perhaps likely, driver of employment in November was the expiry of key fiscal measures,” said Sri Thanabalasingam, senior economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank, in a note.

“Without income support, job search intensity likely picked up.”

Where the jobs are in Canada

Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and PEI all enjoyed job gains in November, with other provinces holding steady.

Employment in Ontario (+68,000 in November) is up for the sixth consecutive month, with the Greater Toronto Area soaking up around two-thirds of those new jobs (+44,000). Ontario job increases were in full-time work and notably in health care and social assistance, wholesale and retail trade, construction, and finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing.

Quebec, historically a laggard in the Canadian economy, now boasts an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent after adding 46,000 net new jobs in November. Quebec job increases were largely concentrated in Montreal.

Canada’s new Minister of Immigration has made clear the Government’s intention to increase immigration levels and reduce the backlog of existing applications, meaning more newcomers should have the chance to contribute to Canada’s economy over the coming months and years.

New resources to help immigrants get jobs in Canada

Canada’s job market provides a wealth of opportunity for newcomers, but it is only that — an opportunity.

To take full advantage, recent and prospective immigrants can leverage free government-funded resources and programs. We recently partnered with Canada InfoNet, a government-funded pre-arrival employment support program, to bring you two expert guides on transitioning to a career in Canada:

The outlook on Canadian construction and infrastructure

Canada’s federal budget, released mid-April, commits more than $101b to kickstart the post-pandemic economy, with $26bn dedicated to infrastructure items. Manitoba and Saskatchewan also recently solidified their commitment to infrastructure spending, and Ontario announced more than $60bn of procurement projects.

“Governments at the federal and provincial levels are doubling-down on infrastructure spending as a new era of big government comes into view, at least as far as construction is concerned.

“This presents big opportunities for immigrants to Canada as employers look far and wide for talent and experience.“

Canada's job market: Ruairi Spillane, founder of Outpost Recruitment

Moving2Canada and Outpost Recruitment Founder, Ruairi Spillane

Throughout the pandemic, Outpost has remained nimble and candidate-focused, able to find suitable roles for motivated candidates. The agency works with general contractors, subcontractors, developers, and consultants who are hiring across senior management, operations, project management, site, design, quality, and commercial personnel.

Outpost Recruitment is actively looking for candidates for projects across Canada. View the latest job postings here.

How to take advantage in Canada’s job market

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.

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.

Here’s a popular webinar from recruitment expert and Moving2Canada founder, Ruairi Spillane, about how to create the best resume for the Canadian jobs market:

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.

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.