Canada has been dubbed “the land of opportunities” for good reason, being one of the countries with the lowest unemployment rates in the world. In a report released by Statistics Canada this month, the unemployment rate fell to 5.5% – a record low since the COVID-19 pandemic hit began, which had caused millions to be unemployed.
According to the report, “it was the lowest jobless rate since January of 2020, officially reaching pre-pandemic levels after 25 months and a mere 0.1 percentage point from an all-time low of 5.4% hit in May 2019 amid the easing of public health restrictions. Additionally, all age groups of men and women saw the unemployment rate at, or below, pre-pandemic levels. The unemployed population shrank by 206,000 (-15.4% to 1,140,000), while those in long-term unemployment fell for the fourth straight month by 51,000 (-19.4% to 212,000). The youth unemployment rate fell to 10.9% in February, from 13.6% in the previous month. Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate went up to 65.4% from 65% in January.”
The report has cited strong gains in the number of private sector employees as the driving force behind the new rates – adding 337 000 jobs in February. With relaxed vaccination proof requirements while increasing capacity limits in restaurants, retailers, theaters, and gyms, the gains were most notable in the accommodation and food services (+114,000; +12.6%), and information, culture and recreation (+73,000; +9.9%) industries. This also caused an increase in total hours worked – which is closely correlated to output by – 3.6%, exceeding hours worked in February 2020 for the first time.
People called back to work in February after a temporary layoff in December and January as provinces tightened restrictions to slow the spread of the Omicron variant accounted for the majority of the decrease in the ranks of Canada’s unemployed. As restrictions eased, eight provinces saw job increases, although Alberta and New Brunswick stayed flat. Gains were notable in sectors hardest hit by public health restrictions, including accommodation and food services, which added 114,000 jobs.
In addition, newcomers to the country are projected to fuel the majority of this year’s growth, rather than the epidemic unemployed returning to work. Following a period of decline due to international travel restrictions, the number of very recent immigrants in Canada has recently rebounded to pre-pandemic levels.
At the end of 2020, Canada had the sixth lowest unemployment rate for the largest economies by GDP at 5.4%. Other countries included Japan at 2.3%; Germany at 3%; United States at 3.9%; United Kingdom at 4.1%; China at 4.4%; India at 5.4% tied with Canada; France at 8.3%; Italy at 9.8% and Brazil at 12%.
“On a seasonally unadjusted basis, the total immigrant unemployment rate was 5.7% in February, compared to 5.9% in February 2020,” as reported by CIC News.
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