Canada added an unexpectedly high 154,000 jobs to the economy in November 2021, more than four times analysts’ expectations of 35,000. According to the latest Statistics Canada labour force survey, recent gains have boosted employment to +1.0% higher than pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.
The latest labour force survey from Statistics Canada reflects labour market conditions during the week of November 7 to 13. While many of the health measures in place last month remained, some provinces, including Ontario and Quebec, eased restrictions where proof of vaccination is required.
Both the service-producing and goods-producing sectors saw employment gains in the month of November. This November marks the first overall increase in the goods-producing sector since March 2021. Most of the increases seen in the goods-producing sector were due to significant gains in manufacturing.
The number of people working in health care and social assistance also increased for the first time since June 2021, largely attributed to the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.
The unemployment rate fell this November to 6.0% – just 0.3 percentage points from the pre-pandemic February 2020 rate. This decline in unemployment was the largest seen since March 2021.
The number of new immigrants continues to increase as Immigration, Refugee, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) works toward ambitious immigration targets for 2021.
Very recent immigrants are defined by Statistics Canada as immigrants that have been in Canada for five years or less.
Following a substantial increase in new permanent residents, the employment rate among very recent immigrants has remained elevated from pre-pandemic levels. At 71.3% in November 2021, employment among recent immigrants is 6.5 points higher than in November 2019. For individuals born in Canada, the employment rate was down 1.6 points for the same period.
Canada continues to face a labour shortage as the working population ages and birth rates decline. A recent survey from ADP Canada revealed one-third of employers were having trouble finding workers.
The shortage is expected to push wages higher and increase workplace perks as employers seek to hire and retain workers. According to ADP’s survey, nearly half of employers struggling to hire workers have increased wages, 27 percent have increased benefits, and 19 percent have introduced a shorter workweek.
Immigration is vital to help fill these labour market gaps. Canada’s new immigration minister, Sean Fraser, recognizes the importance of foreign workers and is prepared to increase Canada’s immigration levels to address labour market shortages if needed.
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