Regional Labour Market Report Card
January 08, 2021 | 10:23
Second Waves Washes Ashore
Canadian employment continued to rebound in Q4, but momentum stalled with a lockdown-driven decline in December. At year-end, employment was still down 3.3% from pre-COVID levels. Regionally, almost all provinces remain below pre-COVID levels, and larger centres have taken the brunt of the losses.
Fourth quarter employment declines (Sep.-to-Dec.) were seen in provinces that were early to impose second-wave restrictions. Quebec was down 14k in the quarter, while Manitoba saw a steep 27k decline. All provinces but B.C. posted employment declines in December as measures also spread through Alberta and Ontario.
Manitoba is now positioned with the deepest employment hole versus pre-COVID levels, at -5.8%. This is directly the result of a large per-capita outbreak and among the most severe restrictions. At the other end of the spectrum, B.C. still stands out among the larger provinces with arguably the shallowest economic impact (employment down just 1.3% from pre-COVID). Note that Newfoundland & Labrador is the only provinces back to February 2020 job levels.
At the city level, we won't dwell on the current rankings given major swings in the data (smaller cities can look wonky even in the most stable of times). But, the larger urban centres have slumped more than the smaller cities, likely the result of higher job concentrations in restaurants, bars, tourism and personal services.