Employment regains pre-pandemic level
Employment rose by 157,000 (+0.8%) in September, the fourth consecutive monthly increase. The unemployment rate fell by 0.2 percentage points to 6.9%. Employment gains in September were concentrated in full-time work, and among people in the core working age group of 25 to 54. Increases were spread across multiple industries and provinces.
The gains in September brought employment back to the same level as in February 2020, just before the onset of the pandemic. However, the employment rate—that is, the proportion of the population aged 15 and older that was employed—was 60.9% in September, 0.9 percentage points lower than in February 2020, due to population growth of 1.4% over the past 19 months.
The number of employed people working less than half their usual hours was little changed in September and remained 218,000 higher (+26.8%) than in February 2020. Total hours worked were up 1.1% in September, but were 1.5% below their pre-pandemic level.
Employment in Quebec rose by 31,000 (+0.7%) in September after holding steady in July and August. Gains were led by manufacturing, followed by professional, scientific and technical services. The unemployment rate in September was 5.7%. In the Montréal CMA, employment was little changed in September following a decline of 29,000 (-1.3%) in August. The Québec CMA posted the lowest unemployment rate of all CMAs in Canada, at 4.1% in September.
The unemployment rate declined for the fourth consecutive month in September, falling 0.2 percentage points to 6.9%, the lowest rate since the onset of the pandemic. The unemployment rate peaked at 13.7% in May 2020 and has trended downward since, with some short-term increases during the late fall of 2020 and spring of 2021, coinciding with the tightening of public health restrictions. In the months leading up to the pandemic, the unemployment rate had hovered around historic lows and was 5.7% in February 2020.
The adjusted unemployment rate—which includes those who wanted a job but did not look for one—was 8.9% in September, down 0.2 percentage points from one month earlier.
The total number of unemployed people was little changed in September and the decline in the unemployment rate was driven instead by an increase of 139,000 (+0.7%) in the number of Canadians participating in the labour market.