Jobless Rate declined last month to the lowest during the pandemic

IN BRIEF  157,000 new jobs created in Canada last month, ahead of expectationsCanada’s economy added 157,000 new jobs last month, Statistics Canada said Friday, more than double what economists had predicted.

As a result, the Canadian jobless rate is 6.9 per cent, the lowest it’s been during the pandemic. In May 2020, it had climbed to 13.7 per cent.

Analysts aren’t popping corks just yet. The number of people considered to be long-term unemployed — which means they haven’t had a job for at least 27 weeks in a row, or about six months — is now twice was it was before the pandemic, at 389,000 people. Others report they are working far fewer hours than before the pandemic hit in March 2020.

“It’s important to celebrate the encouraging gains we are seeing in employment numbers over the past month, yet we also cannot afford to sweep under the rug those numbers,” said Leah Nord, senior director with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “In the midst of a mass labour shortage, 27.3 per cent of unemployed Canadians are unaccounted for. Where did they go?”

It’s a question being asked in the U.S., where Friday’s jobs report reflected that country’s torrid late summer battle with the delta variant. The labour participation rate fell one-10th of a percentage point — 180,000 fewer Americans looked for work in September — as employers added just 194,00 jobs, less than half of what economics had predicted.

President Joe Biden focused in a speech on the fact the unemployment rate dropped from 5.2 per cent to 4.8 per cent as “a sign our recovery is moving forward.” He said jobless indicators for Black and Hispanic workers, generally affected more adversely during the pandemic than white employees, are trending back to pre-pandemic levels. 

While the rate of employment and labour force participation is being monitored, inflation is also of great concern. Gasoline pump prices smash records, cars and appliances are unavailable because of a shortage of component chips and ships are backed up at North American ports.

Speaking to a U.S. audience on Thursday, Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem said the inflationary path was not as simple as many had expected when signs of rising prices first emerged.

“I think what we’re seeing here is it’s more complicated to open an economy than to close an economy,” said Macklem. 

For her part, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said on Friday that the current “disruptive” impact regarding global supply chains will likely continue in some form for a while.

“I think we’re going to be feeling these effects for well into 2022.”Read the full story
Patricia Dent

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