Canada added 952,900 jobs in June, surpassing estimates of 700,000 positions, as economies across the country continued to partially reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate fell to 12.3 per cent from 13.7 per cent, which is the biggest month-over-month drop on record. But it’s much higher than February, when it was 5.6 per cent.
The gains were split evenly between part-time and full-time work. Employment increased in all provinces. Ontario played catch up by adding 378,000 jobs for its first increase since the pandemic started.
As BMO’s chief economist Douglas Porter notes, gains were spread across sectors.
“Hotels & restaurants reported a big bounce of 163,700 jobs (a rise of almost 25 per cent versus an overall 5.8 per cent rise in jobs). However, that sector is still by far down the most from a year ago at -31.5 per cent, versus an 8.5 per cent y/y decline for total employment,” said Porter in a note.
“Manufacturing and construction posted nearly identical gains of just over 80,000, but both are still down by more than 8 per cent y/y. Two sectors actually reported job losses in June, with both agriculture and natural resources slipping slightly.”
The number of people participating in the labour force rose by 786,000, but women are not coming back to work at the same rate as men. The participation rate for core-aged men was 0.8 percentage points lower than February, while it’s 1.4 percentage points lower for women.
From February to April, 5.5 million Canadian workers were affected by shutdowns, either through a drop in employment or COVID-19 related absences. By the week of June 14 to June 20, that number was down to 3.1 million, a 43 percent drop since April.
CIBC economist Royce Mendes says he expects the recovery to continue, but at a slower bumpier pace over the coming months.
“While restrictions continue to be relaxed, it's not happening at the same pace. Furthermore, given international experience, there seems to be a clear limit on the extent to which the economy can reopen without a resurgence in the virus,” he said in a note.
“At the same time, it appears that further business closures and layoffs not directly tied to the mandated restraint continue to pile up.”
Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.