Canada’s employment market added twice as many jobs in December as economists predicted, capping off a strong finish to a record year for job growth across the country.
According to Statistics Canada, Canada added 54,700 jobs last month. This is more than double the 25,000 gains predicted by economists. Full-time employment increased by 1,23,000 as many part-time workers transitioned to more permanent positions, indicating labour market strength.
The analysis adds to the growing body of evidence that economic conditions were favourable in the last weeks of 2021, prior to the country being slammed by a flood of Covid-19 cases and increased lockdown measures.
Canada added 8,86,000 new jobs in 2021, a record year. Following a loss of three million jobs at the outset of the pandemic, employment is presently 2,40,500 more than it was in February 2020, before the global pandemic began. The unemployment rate decreased to 5.9 per cent in December, down from 6 per cent in November, and is now at historic lows.
Following the release of the jobs report, the Canadian currency rose, jumping 0.5 per cent to $1.2672 per US dollar. Bonds fell further, sending the benchmark two-year yield to 1.11 per cent, its highest level since December 8. The robust employment data reinforces the anticipation that interest rates will rise soon.
Economists anticipate five rate hikes from the Bank of Canada this year, beginning as early as this month, when policymakers make their first decision of 2022 on January 26. In December, employment increased by 55,000 (+0.3%). There were more persons working full-time, notably core-aged men aged 25 to 54.
The majority of the job growth occurred in Ontario. Gains were led by the construction and educational services industries on a national scale. After regaining its pre-Covid level for the first time in November, total hours worked fluctuated slightly in December.
Data from the December Labour Force Survey (LFS) describe labour market conditions from December 5 to 11. During the reference week, public health measures were mainly identical to those in place in November and were among the least restrictive seen during the pandemic.
The widespread development of the Omicron variety, as well as the corresponding changes in public health measures, happened following the December reference week.
In December, full-time employment increased by 123,000 (+0.8 per cent), with men of core working-age accounting for the majority of the increase (+95,000; +1.6 per cent).
In comparison, the proportion of people working part-time has decreased (-68,000; -1.9 per cent). Full-time employment has been increasing since June and was 2,48,000 (+1.6 per cent) greater in December than it was before the pandemic in February 2020.
Part-time employment, on the other hand, has been essentially flat since June and has been virtually unchanged since February 2020. The number of employees in the public sector increased by 32,000 (+0.8 per cent) in December, while the number of employees in the private sector and the number of self-employed individuals remained unchanged.
The public sector employed 7.9 per cent more people (+3,07,000) than before the pandemic, owing to increases in public administration, educational services, health care, and social support.
The number of private-sector employees remained 1.4 per cent higher (+1,78,000) than in February 2020, but self-employment remained 8.5 per cent lower than before the pandemic (-2,45,000). Between the third quarter of 2019 and the third quarter of 2021, job vacancies grew in 18 of the 20 major industrial sectors.
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and real estate and rental and leasing were the only industries where vacancies did not increase in the third quarter of 2021 as compared to the same time two years prior. The surge in job vacancies was driven by five industries: health care, construction, lodging and food, retail commerce, and manufacturing.
Increases in job vacancies might indicate a variety of changes in labour market conditions that exist in various sectors and areas.