According to Statistics Canada, employment in Canada increased by approximately 337,000 jobs in February compared to January, a 1.8 percent rise. In February, the agency noticed evidence pointing to an increasingly tight labour market. The increase in employment was led by a 347,000 increase in the number of private-sector employees, which was somewhat offset by a decrease of 18,600 self-employed people. Statistics Canada also reported a 7,900 increase in the number of public-sector workers.
The February employment increase was broad across the country. The provinces with the highest proportional increases were Newfoundland and Labrador (+4.3 percent; +9,500) and Prince Edward Island (+4.1 percent; +3,300). Both Ontario (+2.6 percent; +194,000) and Quebec (+1.9 percent; +82,000) had strong growth, which was followed by Saskatchewan (+1.3 percent; +7,400), Manitoba (+1.0 percent; +6,400), British Columbia (+0.8 percent; +21,000), and Nova Scotia (+0.8 percent; +3,700). In New Brunswick and Alberta, there was little change in employment.
Gains in employment have been observed throughout industries. The number of individuals employed in the services industry increased by 293,000 in February, more than making up for January’s losses. The “accommodation and food services” business recorded the biggest job growth, with 114,000 more people employed. The “information, cultural, and leisure” industry increased by 73,000, as did the “goods-producing” sector, which increased by 44,000, its third consecutive monthly increase. Furthermore, the construction industry recorded a significant gain, with employment increasing by 37,000 people.
The employment rate for the core working-age population (aged 25 to 54 years) increased to 84.6 percent in February, with the employment rate for core-aged men (88.2 percent) reaching its highest level since November 1981. The employment rate among core-aged women, which has been climbing for several decades, has reached a new high of 81.0 percent.
Employment gains for core-aged women were greatest in educational services (+70,000; +9.8 percent), professional, scientific, and technological services (+46,000; +9.4 percent), and finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing (+42,000; +9.3 percent) compared to February 2020. Professional, scientific, and technological services (+116,000; +19.5 percent) and health care and social support (+43,000; +13.3 percent) contributed the most to employment increase among core-aged men (not seasonally adjusted).
For the first time since Covid, the Canadian unemployment rate has fallen below its pre-Covid level. It was 5.5 percent in February, down from 5.7 percent in February 2020.
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