Canada gained 90,000 jobs in August

B.C. only province with employment above its pre-pandemic level

Easing restrictions reflected in job growth, notably in hotels and restaurants. | StatsCan

While party leaders vow to create new jobs on the campaign trail, Statistics Canada labour numbers show continued employment gains in Canada, as a result of easing pandemic restrictions.

There were an additional 90,000 jobs in August -- the third consecutive month of job growth -- bringing the national unemployment rate to 7.1%. Once again, employment growth in B.C. outpaced the rest of Canada. B.C.'s unemployment rate for August was 6.2%.

"For the third consecutive month, British Columbia was the lone province with employment above its pre-pandemic level," Statistics Canada says in a labour force survey released today.

"The Labour Force Survey for August shows that B.C. is making great strides in our economic recovery with another 14,400 jobs gained throughout the province - 13,600 of these jobs are among women," said Ravi Kahlon, B.C.'s minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. "All job gains are full-time.

"B.C. has one of the lowest unemployment rates and a job recovery rate of 101.1%, leading Canada as the only province with employment above pre-pandemic levels for the third straight month."

Prince George has been the leader in B.C., with  a job recovery rate of 108.1%.

Employment was up in August in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, and unemployment is now at its lowest level in Canada since February 2020. 

The biggest gains were in full-time work and the private sector -- 76,700 jobs -- with the biggest driver being hotels and restaurants. There were 20,000 more jobs in the construction sector -- an increase of 1.4%.

"The employment rate was 60.5% in August, 1.3 percentage points below the pre-pandemic rate," Statistics Canada notes.

"By sector, the big driver of the gain was hotels (and) restaurants (+74,600), reflecting a more complete re-opening, and a stark difference with the U.S.," BMO notes in its analysis of the StatsCan survey. "Information, culture (and) recreation rose a hearty 23,900, another sector that would have benefited from reopening.

"On balance, the continued decent gains in employment suggest that the recovery was still grinding forward in late summer even in the face of the budding fourth wave and ongoing supply bottlenecks. Employment is now just 0.8% away from returning to pre-pandemic levels."

StatsCan notes a gain of 20,000 jobs in construction.

"Nearly all of the gains were in Ontario and British Columbia," the survey adds.

Wages generally increased in August.

"Based on the fixed-weighted average, average wages were up 5.2% (+$1.48) in August compared with the 2019 average."

The number of Canadians working from home fell by 1.8% in August to 24%.

The labour underutilization rate barely changed. It is at 14.2%. This reflects the potential labour force that is still unemployed.