Prepared by Rosa Edison, Vinay Krishnan, Christopher Samuel; Edited by Michael Albert on June 15, 2020

Canada Surprises With 290k Net New Jobs in May 2020

Unemployment has reached record levels, but the Bank of Canada says the economic recovery foundation is now well in place.

When areas of the country reopened after the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s workforce added 289,600 jobs in May, most of them being full-time jobs.

The reopening of the economy of Canada is as provinces and municipalities can confidently claim, they are past the height of the spread of contagion by “flattering the curve” with more manageable caseloads and new practices in place, which enable companies to re-open safely.

This has enabled businesses to reopen in a staged manner, a practice that is expected to continue through the summer months, all following plan.

Where Canada is creating new jobs?

British Columbia introduced 43,000 jobs in May and as more people looked for work, the unemployment rate rose 1.9 percentage points to 13.4 per cent. Nearly all the rise in jobs at B.C. The services sector (+41,000), hospitality and food services (+12,000), education services (+12,000), and wholesale and retail trade (+12,000).

Nearly 80 per cent of the jobs created in Quebec. Employment in Quebec increased by 231,000 (+6.5%) and the proportion of workers who worked less than half of their usual working hours for COVID-19-related purposes dropped to 19.3% by 6.6 percentage points.

This follows a disastrous early spring in which Quebec’s unemployment rate dropped to 17 percent, a figure that has now snapped back to 13.7 percent in line with the national average. Until Statistics Canada collected data mid-May, the Quebec provincial government relaxed restrictions on a lot of industry, especially in construction from mid-April and in retail trade and manufacturing outside Montreal from May 4. Despite the slower reopening of the economy in the Montreal metropolitan census area, home to almost half of Quebec ‘s population, employment increased in May at the Montreal CMA by 97,000 (+5.3 per cent).

The number of workers working outside the home rose from 60 per cent in April to 65 per cent in May. In Quebec, the largest increase in employment has been in construction (+58,000), manufacturing (+56,000), and wholesale and retail trade (+54,000), three industries with a greater proportion of hard-to-do jobs from home. The fact that Quebec has a higher proportion of hard-to-perform off-site workers goes a long way to understanding why its rise in unemployment earlier this year was so drastic and why its recovery is so strong now.

The only province that saw a loss of net jobs in May (-65,000), was Ontario, home to Toronto. The Ontario government took a more cautious approach to reopening the economy as it collected data about jobs most limits on economic activity remained in place. We can expect the production of jobs in Ontario to expand over the summer months as it reopens.

In the meantime, Alberta ‘s unemployment currently stands at 15.5%, while Prairie’s Saskatchewan provinces (12.5%) and Manitoba (11.2%) remain stable with their staggered reopening. The unemployment rate in Newfoundland, which is the higher off the east in Canada (16.3%), is now the highest in 10,000 jobs in May while the national average is in Nova Scotia (12.7%), the PEI (13.9%) and New Brunswick (12.8 percent).

Is this summer going to build more jobs in Canada?

The recent May employment report shows an overview of the economy of Canada in earlier stages. As more companies and services reopen and provincial economies are reopening gradually, more people who were laid off in March and April can be expected to go back to work.

In addition, new workers will be fully required for some jobs, such as infrastructure projects.

There will be a large pipeline of work with rising municipal and federal investment to upgrade Canada’s aging infrastructure network and research that was identified as necessary during the pandemic. The prospect of jobs in Canada’s infrastructure remains extraordinarily strong.



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