Canada reports the lowest unemployment rate

Canada reports the lowest unemployment rate since 1976

Canada’s unemployment rate fell to a record low!

The unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 5.3% in March 2022. This is the lowest level since comparable data became available in 1976. According to Statistics Canada’s March Labour Force Survey, employment gains were driven by older women and core-aged men. Moreover, gains were concentrated in Ontario and Quebec.

Employment growth continues in March 2022

Image: Statistic Canada | Employment growth continues in March 2022.

In the six months since September 2021, employment increased in the following sectors:

  • Retail trade: +122,000,
  • Construction: +110,000,
  • Health care and social assistance: +62,000, and
  • Information, culture and recreation: +62,000

Of course, this employment growth coincided with the continued easing of public health restrictions. The study said that more businesses made plans for workers to return to in-person work. In this context, the proportion of workers who report that they usually work exclusively from home declined in March.

Furthermore, in March, employment increased in New Brunswick (+4,100), Prince Edward Island (+800), Quebec (+27,000) and Ontario (+35,000). These increases were partially offset by declines in Newfoundland and Labrador (-2,900), Saskatchewan (-4,500) and Manitoba (-4,200). There was little change in Nova Scotia, Alberta and British Columbia.

Some recovery in own-account self-employment

Private sector employees and the self-employed had the highest employment growth in March (+73,000; +0.4%). Total self-employment—which includes both own-account workers with no paid help and business owners with employees—remained 215,000 (-7.5%) below its pre-COVID February 2020 level. Moreover, this sector has not seen any monthly growth since March 2021.

However, for own-account workers, there has been some indication of employment recovery in recent months. Although it remains below its pre-COVID level, the number of self-employed people ( mostly men) without employees was up 35,000 (+3.2%) on a year-over-year basis in March. Most of the net growth was in the professional, scientific, and technical services industry (not seasonally adjusted).

The unemployment rate among very recent immigrants is at a historic low

The unemployment rate for core-aged immigrants who landed in Canada within the previous five years was 8.3% in March 2022. This is the lowest March rate on record since comparable data became available in 2006. However, the unemployment rate of core-aged very recent immigrants remained 3.8 percentage points above the rate of their Canadian-born counterparts (4.5%). This represents the same gap as before the pandemic in March 2019 (three-month moving averages, not seasonally adjusted).

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