Statistics Canada has said the country added 94,000 jobs in July as public health restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic continued to be lifted, but economists warned there is still a “long slog” toward a full recovery ahead.
Between the June and July reference weeks, many jurisdictions substantially eased public health restrictions affecting indoor and outdoor dining, recreation and cultural activities, retail shopping, and personal care services.
Employment rose by 94,000 (+0.5%) in July, adding to an increase of 231,000 (+1.2%) in June, the federal agency said.
The two consecutive months of growth brought employment to 246,000 (-1.3%) below the February 2020 level.
Youth aged 15 to 24 and core-aged women aged 25 to 54 accounted for the bulk of the gains.
All of the employment gains in July occurred in the private sector, where the number of employees rose by 123,000 (+1.0%).
July employment gains were concentrated in full-time work (+83,000; +0.5%); the first increase since March 2021.
The number of employees in the public sector fell by 31,000 (-0.7%) in July, the first decline since April 2020.
The number of employed people who worked less than half their usual hours fell by 116,000 (-10.1%).
Total hours worked were up 1.3% and were 2.7% below their pre-pandemic level.
All of the employment gains were in the services-producing sector (+93,000).
Employment increased in Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.
The unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points to 7.5% in July, lower than the recent peak of 9.4% in January 2021.
Long-term unemployment was 244,000 higher than in February 2020 and accounted for more than one-quarter (27.8%) of total unemployment in July.
Unemployment among youth aged 15 to 24 fell by 54,000.
Among Canadians aged 55 and older, unemployment fell 22,000 (-5.9%). Unemployment for the core-aged population aged 25 to 54 was little changed.
The labour underutilization rate declined 1.2 percentage points to 14.4%.