Regional Labour Market Report Card
October 08, 2021 | 10:32
Canadian employment rose a hefty 341k in 2021Q3 (June-to-September), leaving total jobs now fully back to pre-COVID levels, and up 4% from a year ago. The jobless rate remains 1.2 ppts above the pre-pandemic mark, at 6.9%, but progress is coming in a hurry with the damage now focused on a very few select pockets of the job market.
The regional picture was straightforward in Q3, with all provinces posting strong job growth, and seeing employment well above year-ago levels by September. Ontario led the pack in the quarter given the timing of shutdowns/reopening in that province.
Notably, three provinces now have employment at or above pre-COVID levels (including hard-hit Ontario and Alberta), while half are within 0.5% of better. Barring an unforeseen setback, the vast majority of the country will see pre-pandemic jobs levels in short order.
B.C. continues to exhibit the strongest performance through the pandemic, with jobs now 1.5% above February 2020 levels, and the jobless rate below 6%.
At the city level, strength persists in smaller centres around Toronto. Peterborough, Guelph, Kitchener and Hamilton are all in the top 10 of our ranking. The largest urban centres, hard hit early on, are now climbing back with Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal all making relative gains in recent months (and all are now back into the top half of the pack and above pre-COVID job levels).