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Economic recovery continues with 90,000 jobs added in August (Stats Can job report)

 The Canadian economy added 90,200 jobs in August — the third consecutive monthly increase — to bring the unemployment rate down to 7.1 per cent from 7.5 per cent in July.

Employment increased in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia in August, according to the Statistics Canada job report, with little or no change in all other provinces. British Columbia remained the lone province with employment above pre-pandemic levels.

Overall, employment was within 156,000 jobs, or 0.8 per cent, of the level recorded in February 2020 before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is variation to be found. Employment in high-touch industries — those requiring a high level of personal contact — is nearly 300,000 jobs off its pre-pandemic mark.

Labour supply hasn’t kept pace with the robust demand for workers in a number of industries, however, resulting in staff shortages. As well, the labour participation rate didn’t increase, suggesting hesitancy about returning to the workforce remains for many.

“Career changes, and ongoing health concerns could be possible reasons for the lack of available workers,” said TD senior economist Sri Thanabalasingam.

Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem hinted at both a strong recovery in jobs hit hard by COVID-19 and at the same time a complicated shift in the way Canadians work while speaking to the Quebec Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.

“It is clear that the pandemic has had a profound effect on the labour market,” Macklem said

Macklem and others in Canada hope both that a fourth wave of the virus is not too painful and that the mismatching effect of having both high numbers of vacancies and unemployed won’t be as pronounced as it is in the U.S., where there are 10 million job vacancies but eight million looking for work, with still more out of the job market entirely.  

Experts continue to debate whether pandemic aid to help individuals is hindering the ability of employers to find applicants or if the pandemic has caused a deep rethink among North Americans on what they want for the rest of their working-age life. Some suggest the pandemic offers the perfect opportunity to provide a living wage for more Canadians.Read the full story
Patricia Dent
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