|Canada’s job market added 84,000 new jobs in October, a better figure than expected but one that means the economy still has more than 600,000 fewer paid workers today than it did in February, before COVID-19 struck. That’s the lowest monthly jobs number since the recovery started in May, but slightly better than the 75,000 jobs that economists, on average, were expecting.
Statistics Canada reported Friday that most sectors of the economy added jobs, except the accommodation and food services industry, which shed another 48,000 — mostly in Quebec, because that province was the first to reimpose lockdown measures on the restaurant industry during the month. Five provinces posted job gains — Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island — while the job market was unchanged in the rest.
Under normal circumstances, a gain of 84,000 jobs would be a strong showing, but the monthly figure comes as the economy is trying to recover from the three million jobs lost in the first two months of the pandemic. Economist Sri Thanabalasingam with TD Bank described the October job numbers as „the first bump on the road to recovery for Canada’s labour market;… What was leaps and bounds early on are now baby steps.”
The data agency said the jobless rate held steady at 8.9 per cent as there are 1.8 million Canadians who are officially classified as unemployed — which means they would like to have a job, but can’t find one, a definition that excludes retired people, many students, and stay-at-home parents. The jobless rate was 5.6 per cent in February.