Another month has come and gone. Progress had been made and as of July, several provinces have now finally dropped their restrictions and are fully open. However, our friendly Manitoba, which has the highest doses administered per 100,000 people and the highest fully vaccinated population out of all 10 provinces is still in partial lockdown.
That being said, the labor statistics for June should be a welcomed sight, right? As restrictions lift the economy should rebound. More jobs should be available and there should be more people willing to fill those jobs.
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June Labour Force Survey
The last time we looked at employment numbers was for February, after one year of COVID. The June survey reports a 1.2% increase from May in employment to 18,790,000 employed Canadians. It also shows a decrease in unemployment of 0.4% to where it sits now at 7.8%.
It explicitly says that when comparing the May and June reference weeks that restrictions in 8 of the 10 provinces (not MB or ON) have significantly eased, this makes the numbers seem a little underwhelming.
We must have come a long way from January thought, right? Mass vaccinations didn’t start until well into the new year. Now we have more than 78% of people age 12+ with at least one dose and more than 45% fully vaccinated. However, our economic and employment recovery from January until now is lackluster.
Since January total employment has only risen 2.8%, from 18,272,000 to 18,790,000. Unemployment has seen a drop from 9.4% in January to 7.8% in June. However, unemployment stats can be skewed to show a more rosy picture.
Although the reported unemployment rate is dropping, long-term unemployment is still dramatically higher than it was pre-COVID. Long-term unemployment counts those who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more. Compared to pre-COVID we are up a whopping 166% and are currently sitting at 298,000 people.
In the June survey, it was reported that Canada had a population of 31,283,300 with a labour force of 20,381,500. In January the population was 31,191,200 with a labour force of 20,171,000. Going back to pre-COVID, February 2020, there was a population of 31,027,700 with a labour force of 20,323,200.
In June we still have a lower participation rate and employment rate than we did, pre-pandemic. This is to be expected. It does seem to slowly be coming back around to pre-pandemic levels.
On an interesting note, part-time employment is very close to pre-COVID levels. 3,580,600 part-time jobs pre-COVID and 3,570,400 now, only a 10,200 difference. This means that most of the missing jobs from the economy are full-time jobs.
It will be interesting to see if the economy continues to rebound as the remaining provinces start lifting their restrictions. However, there are other economic concerns as well. We have warned that higher than average inflation or even hyperinflation could be on the horizon.
What happens when another variant comes along? Do we go into another lockdown where jobs are cut again, and the government prints and hands out even more money? I guess only time can tell. It sure will be interesting to see how everything plays out and if people will even remember what normal is.
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