jobs in canada

Way more people returned to jobs in Canada last month than expected

As the eight million-plus residents who had to go onto income assistance through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit well know, the pandemic has brought with it a level of economic fallout and job loss never before seen in our lifetimes.

More than one million Canadians lost their jobs in the first month of lockdown closures alone, with accommodation, food services, oil and gas, arts, entertainment and recreation, and retail trade — especially small, local businesses in these industries — hit the hardest.

But, though people continued to be laid off through the spring months and the national unemployment rate reached a record high, jobs are finally being recreated once again as businesses slowly reopen and bounce back.

According to data just released by Statistics Canada on Friday, nearly one million residents returned to full or part-time work in June, which far exceeded expert predictions.

The government agency's most recent Labour Force Survey shows that unemployment dropped 1.4 per cent (from 13.7 to 12.3) as 953,000 jobs returned or were created across all provinces. Economists had apparently expected this number to be closer to 700,000.

Also, 823,000 more Canadians who had their hours cut substantially due to COVID-19 were back to regular or near-regular hours last month and hundreds of thousands fewer are working from home — other good signs that things are recovering, and faster than in previous recessions.

With the federal government initiating the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program back in April and expanding it numerous times since then, companies are being encouraged to help workers transition off of CERB and back into the workplace.

But still, well over half of the jobs lost due to the health crisis have yet to return as many types of businesses are still unable to resume operations (and those that have may not be operating at full capacity).

StatsCan estimates that 2.5 million Canadians were still unemployed last month, most of whom are trying to actively look for a job. And job stats across the board are still well below pre-coronavirus levels, especially in the aforementioned sectors that were impacted the most by lockdown measures.

As provinces wade further into their respective stages of reopening and COVID-19 case counts continue to trend downward, hopefully this trend of slow but steady employment gains and economic recovery over time will continue as Ottawa copes with an astounding deficit and a never-before-seen national debt of $1.2 trillion.

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