|Statistics Canada released the October Labour Force Survey this morning, reporting a slowdown in employment growth from the blockbuster pace of recent months. While some commentators were disappointed in the results, I have a more positive take. Canada returned its pre-pandemic level of employment in September ahead of the US and other G-7 countries. The resumption of a more normal pace of job gains was inevitable as we get closer to full employment.
Employment rose by 31,200 (+0.2%) in October, following a jump of 157,000 the month before. Indeed, job growth surged at an average monthly rate of 143,000 from June through September. That is not a sustainable pace of job gains but rather a reflection of the spike in hiring in the immediate aftermath of the lockdown. For example, hiring averaged 23,000 per month in the two years before the outbreak of COVID.
Employment increases in several industries, including retail trade, were offset by declines elsewhere, including accommodation and food services. Employment rose in Ontario and New Brunswick, while it fell in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Declines in self-employment offset Gains among paid employees.The number of employed people working less than half their usual hours fell 9.7% (-100,000) in October and remained 117,000 higher (+14.5%) than in February 2020. Total hours worked were up 1.0% in October and were 0.6% below their pre-pandemic level.
Among people of core working age (25 to 54 years), employment rose by 53,000 (+0.4%) in October, with all the gains in full-time work.