In the month of December 2021, the Canadian economy added 55,000 jobs, as an increase in full-time positions more than offset a decrease in part-time employment.
As per Statistics Canada, the two provinces of Ontario and Saskatchewan accounted for nearly all of the gains, while the job market in the rest of the country was essentially static.
According to the labour force survey conducted by the data agency, there were 1,23,000 more Canadians with full-time work during the month, and 68,000 fewer with part-time occupations.
The new variant Omicron has overburdened testing capacity across the country, prompting extreme lockdowns and other limitations that are likely to have had a significant impact on the employment marketplace.
The rate of unemployment was 5.9 per cent. It was 5.7 per cent two years ago next month, before the outbreak. In December, 1.21 million Canadians were officially classified as unemployed, which means they are looking for work but are unable to find it. That is around 67,000 more persons than the 1.15 million unemployed in February 2020.
According to Tanya Gullison of human resources consultancy LHH, the retail and hotel sectors are expected to be the hardest hurt by the limits that are now in place.
“As we look to the coming months, we may see a decline in high-contact jobs as workers fall back on financial support benefits like CWLB,” she said, referring to the federal government’s recently announced income support program for workers, the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit or CWLB.
Bank of Montreal economist Doug Porter stated that the job market was healthy prior to the Omicron tidal wave. Despite the robust rise in December, look for a significant fall in January. The Canadian employment market dropped more than 200,000 positions over a two-month period between the second and third waves of limitations, and there is little reason to expect this round to be any different.
According to the National Occupational Classification (NOC), professional, scientific, and technical services are “high-skilled” jobs, but retail trade jobs like cashiers are “low skilled.” Express Entry, Canada’s primary immigration system, prioritizes the admission of highly skilled workers. Although there are certain avenues for low-skilled workers, such as Provincial Nominee Programs, more economic immigrants are coming to Canada as high-skilled workers.
In December, employment rates among the core-aged cohort of immigrants who arrived more than five years earlier were nearly 83 per cent. At the same time, core-aged Canadian-born workers were employed at a rate of approximately 86 per cent. These stats haven’t changed much in the last two years.
“The rapid spread of the Omicron variant and reimposed containment measures — including the closure of high-contact service sectors in Ontario and Quebec — mean employment will very likely fall substantially in January,” Nathan Janzen, a senior economist at RBC Economics, wrote in a note to clients about the report.
Youth and young employees account for a bigger proportion of the workforce in such businesses, which also include wholesale and retail trade, as well as information, culture, and entertainment.
The information, cultural, and leisure industry experienced significant job recovery in 2021, but it occurred primarily in the late summer and early fall, recovering to pre-pandemic levels in September.