Canada’s COVID-19 ravaged economy created 378,000 jobs in September, even as COVID-19 cases surged.
The bulk of them, 334,000, were full-time positions, according to Statistics Canada.
“The surprising advance was also heavily tilted toward the hard-hit services sector (+303K), particularly accommodation and food services, education, and information, culture and recreation, each of which had seen a significant impact from COVID-19,” said CIBC economist Royce Mendes.
The strong month brings the unemployment rate down to 9 per cent from 10.2 per cent. It also brings the job market to within 720,000 jobs of its February pre-pandemic level.
The number of Canadians who were employed but worked less than half their usual hours due to the pandemic fell by 108,000. Of those who are still working their usual number of hours, work from home fell to 25.6 per cent from 26.4 per cent
Employment among core-aged women (25 to 54 years old) increased by 134,000, outpacing males in the category at 61,000.
Young Canadians aged 15-24 saw an increase of 128,000 jobs. But that hardest hit age group is still 10 per cent below the February peak and continues to lag other age brackets.
Canadians who don’t consider themselves a visible minority or Indigenous had the lowest unemployment rate at 7 per cent. It dropped 5.9 percentage points to 11.7 per cent for Black Canadians. Arab Canadians (16.3 per cent) had the highest unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted).
Quebec and Ontario were the provinces with the strongest job creation. Only New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island did not gain jobs.
“While the gain means the labour market added 220,000 more jobs than the consensus forecast in September, the closure of restaurants and bars in much of Quebec this month as well as additional restrictions elsewhere present a clear downside risk for the rest of 2020,” said Capital Economic’s Stephen Brown.
“Nevertheless, progress so far has certainly been encouraging and employment is ‘just’ 3.7 per cent below its pre-pandemic level, whereas in the U.S. it is still 7 per cent lower.”
Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.