Canada’s economy added 94,000 jobs in July, far fewer than what economists were expecting, but enough to push the jobless rate down to 7.5 per cent.
Statistics Canada reported Friday that almost all of the new jobs came in Ontario, which added 72,000 jobs. Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island also added jobs, while everywhere else, job levels were either down or unchanged.
Almost all of the new jobs came in the private sector and most were full-time, too.
July’s job gains come on the heels of 231,000 jobs added the month before, as the economy started to reopen from the third Canadian wave of COVID-19. Economists had hoped that momentum might continue into July, but the job gains came in far lower than the 165,000 that was expected.
July’s numbers mean Canada’s economy still has 246,000 fewer jobs than it did in February 2020, before the pandemic started.
While below expectations, Bank of Montreal economist Doug Porter noted that the job market seems to at least be headed in the right direction.
“Today’s jobs report may have been a bit shy of lofty expectations, but we would still give this report a solid silver medal,” he said. “Looking ahead, there will likely be one more seriously strong result for the current month, and then employment gains will likely settle into a long slog — after the reopening gains are done, and the global economy will be dealing with delta. But this is a sturdy step in the right direction.”
Leah Nord with Canada’s Chamber of Commerce says July’s job numbers show just how long and slow the economic recovery from COVID-19 will be.
Job vacancies are going unfilled in many parts of the economy, which is highly unusual, she notes, and a sign that the pandemic may have fundamentally changed the job market.
“Many Canadians have re-prioritized their lives during the pandemic and are looking for hybrid work models, which businesses continue to explore while taking into consideration operational, health and safety, legal and other considerations,” Nord said.
“We expect the full impact of this underlying trend to be felt over the next 18 months, and it will have profound effects on how businesses compete for talent.”