Regional Labour Market Report Card
April 09, 2021 | 10:34
Recovery Draws Nearer
Canadian employment posted a strong 350k gain in 2021Q1, as COVID containment measures eased across much of the country. Of course, some of these gains will be given back in April as lockdowns return. Still, as of March, employment was down just 1.5% from pre-pandemic levels, and a few provinces have already seen jobs return to pre-COVID levels.
Almost all provinces posted employment gains in Q1 (Dec.-to-Mar.), with the biggest gains coming in provinces that were most heavily locked down around the turn of the year.
British Columbia and Nova Scotia have seen employment recover their pandemic losses, with jobs back to, or above, February 2020 levels. Saskatchewan, PEI and Quebec are lagging the recovery.
Ontario rebounded very strongly to end Q1, suggesting that employment growth might be fast and furious as vaccination becomes more widespread. While the province will see another hiccup in April/May, the jobless rate ended Q1 back in-line with the national average.
At the city level, the larger urban centres have slumped more than smaller markets, likely the result of higher job concentrations in restaurants, bars, tourism and personal services. The movement out of urban cores (i.e., remote work) would also boost reported employment in smaller markets (place of residence) even if jobs are still based out of the big city.