Canada added 55,000 jobs in December

January 14, 2022

By CIC News |

Canada’s employment rose 55,000 in December, while unemployment was little changed.

Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey captured economic conditions during the week of December 5 to 11. The reference week was just before the Omicron variant became widespread in Canada, causing a surge in cases. Public health measures were similar to November during the reference week. Coronavirus-related closures happened shortly after.

More people were working full-time in December just before public health measures ramped up. Most of the employment growth was in Ontario. Nationwide, gains were driven by the construction and education industries.

Unemployment was down slightly to 5.9% compared to November, when it was at 6%. In February 2020, before the pandemic, Canada’s unemployment rate was 5.6%.

Newcomer employment higher than pre-pandemic

International travel restrictions earlier in the pandemic caused the number of very recent immigrants (who have landed within five years) has recovered to its pre-pandemic level in recent months. In December, the total number of very recent immigrants of core working age (25 to 54) was 0.6% higher, or 5,000 more, than two years earlier.

The share of core-age very recent immigrants rose by 7.8 percentage points to 78.7% in the two years ending in December 2021. Employment gains over that period were largest in professional, scientific, and technical services (up 26,000 jobs, 31.3%) as well as wholesale and retail trade (up 20,000 jobs, 28.7%).

Statistics Canada says the large gains in the two industries reflects the role that both higher-skilled and lower-skilled employment plays in the integration of newcomers into the labour market.  Professional, scientific, and technical services tend to be “high-skilled” jobs according to the National Occupational Classification (NOC), whereas retail trade jobs like cashiers fall under “low skilled”. Canada’s main immigration pathway, Express Entry, focuses on admitting high-skilled workers. While there are pathways for low-skilled workers, some Provincial Nominee Programs for instance, there are still more economic immigrants coming to Canada as high-skilled workers.

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