Canada added 62,000 jobs in November, which was ahead of estimates of around 20,000, but growth continues to slow as COVID-19 cases surge.
Following an increase of 84,000 jobs in October, it was the slowest month for growth since the recovery started in May.
The November data from Statistics Canada also doesn’t capture the full effect of lockdowns in parts of the country, some of which were implemented after this report’s reference period of November 8 to 14. Indeed economist Brendon Bernard says that makes this report “a bit stale” and doesn’t give us much of a sense of where the labour market stands.
“On a positive note, many employers appear to be looking ahead to next year, as job postings on Indeed held up through the end of November, at a time when they’re usually declining,” he said.
“Nonetheless, the Canadian labour market’s streak of gains will be in jeopardy in December, as the economic hit from the second wave really starts to bite."
In April 5.5 million people were affected by COVID-19, including 3 million jobs losses and 2.5 million who held on to their jobs but were absent virus related reasons. That number fell to 1 million in November.
The unemployment rate fell from 8.5 per cent to 8.9 per cent, but there’s a long way to get back to the 5.6 per cent pre-pandemic level in February. Capital Economics’s Stephen Brown expects a reversal in December.
“The high-frequency data show restaurant visits have plunged since the November LFS survey was conducted, suggesting that employment will fall by 150,000 in December,” he said.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce also expects current conditions to lead to a slowdown in the coming months.
“The return to job growth will require a clear, coherent plan to proactively manage COVID-19 instead of simply responding to it, which leads to businesses being forced to close and entrepreneurs losing their livelihoods,” said senior director of workforce strategies and inclusive growth, Leah Nord.
“Canada simply must do better with testing and tracing, and make much broader use of rapid testing to ensure businesses stay open and Canadians remain employed.”
Among those who worked at least half of their usual hours, 4.6 million worked from home in November.
Total hours worked rose 1.2 per cent while from last month — a measure that has been steadily recovering.
The number of Canadians number who were on temporary layoff, or who had arrangements to start a new job in the near future was 253,000 — a drop of 78.9 per cent from April.
Even though the report didn’t capture the entire brunt of new restrictions, employment in accommodation and food services declined for the second consecutive month, falling by 24,000 jobs. Construction rose by 26,000 jobs per cent, for the first increase since July.
Nova Scotia was a standout among the provinces with a gain of 10,000 jobs and the country’s lowest unemployment rate of 6.4 per cent, which is lower than it was a year ago. Employment is furthest from pre-pandemic levels in Alberta and Manitoba.
Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.