Canada added 153,700 jobs in November, bringing the unemployment rate down to 6% as it approaches the pre-pandemic level, according to data released by Statistics Canada on Friday.
The report was a sign that Canada’s heated labour market was finally benefiting workers who have been left out of the recovery.
The report was a sign that Canada’s heated labour market was finally benefiting workers who have been left out of the recovery, including those in the goods-producing sector, the long-term unemployed and the underemployed.
In November, the employment rate among core-age women reached 80.7%, the highest ever recorded. The growth occurred mostly in full-time work and occurred across industries.
One reason for the higher participation rate is that greater flexibility for work during the pandemic has enabled more women to be in the workforce as they juggle responsibilities.
This new flexibility comes as the population ages and workers retire, which has only heightened the need for workers. The shift toward working from home and offering employees greater flexibility is most likely here to stay.
The number of Canadians considered long-term unemployed, or those out of work for 27 weeks of more, decreased by 16.2%, the first monthly decline since August. For those unemployed for 52 weeks or more, the decline was even more dramatic, at 23.4%.
Research has shown that the longer a worker stays unemployed, the more difficult it is to find work, so the decrease in long-term unemployment, which has been a major drag in the recovery, is an encouraging sign.
The short-term unemployment rate, which covers those out of work for 26 weeks or fewer, had been steadily declining throughout the year and in November dipped below levels of February 2020, before the pandemic.
The tight labour market is also having an effect on wages. With job vacancies surpassing 1 million, wages are rapidly increasing, a trend that will continue as businesses try to attract and retain talent.
While the labour market has been a bright spot in Canada’s economic recovery, the omicron variant remains a looming threat, threatening to undo the progress made this year.
November’s jobs report is a gift for the Canadian economy as the recovery kicked up a gear. Employment increased across industries, provinces and demographic groups, expanding what had been a concentration in a few sectors like professional services.
Businesses will see increasing shortages in specific skills and a hypercompetitive market for talent, even as the uncertainties regarding the omicron variant remain.