Canadian labour market adds fewer jobs than expected

·2-min read
Help Wanted sign.
On Monday, 30 August 2021, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Employers added full-time workers in October (Getty Images)

Canada's labour market added 31,000 jobs in October, fewer than the 41,600 jobs that were expected.

After returning to its pre-pandemic level in September, Statistics Canada says all of the new jobs in October were full-time.

The unemployment rate fell by 0.2 percentage points to 6.7 per cent, falling for the fifth straight month.

Job gains were widespread across industries, including retail trade (71,000).

But accommodation and food services shed positions (-27,000).

"Despite the industry's elevated job vacancy levels, Statistics Canada noted that average wages have been flat for most occupations within it," said Indeed Canada senior economist Brendon Bernard.

"One potential reason for little pay growth could be that some employers were waiting to see how the labour market responded to the winding down of the Canada Recovery Benefit, which occurred after the October LFS reference week."

Employment increased in Ontario and New Brunswick and fell in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Slower going forward

Total hours worked rose one per cent, now 0.6 per cent below the pre-pandemic level. The number of employed people working less than half their usual hours fell 9.7 per cent, but was 14.5 per cent higher than in February 2020.

“Labour market progress will remain slower than we had become accustomed to, but today's data for hours worked shows that slack continues to be absorbed even outside of the headline employment/unemployment figures,” said CIBC senior economist Andrew Grantham.

The U.S. job market added 531,000 positions, ahead of the 450,000 expected. The unemployment rate there fell to 4.6 per cent. 

Labour shortages

Some employers are complaining about labour shortages. Tanya Gullison, chief revenue officer at HR consulting firm LHH, says employers will need to attract workers through wages as well as additional benefits.

"With this hiring shift in the Canadian labour market, employee needs and employer expectations must be aligned," she said. 

"Companies need to go further than monetary incentives and provide attractive employee benefits and growth opportunities that address diverse needs and prioritize employee mental health and well-being."

Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.

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