Labour underutilization remains elevated
The labour underutilization rate fell to 13.8% in September, down 0.4 percentage points from August. Above and beyond the unemployment rate, this rate reflects the proportion of people in the potential labour force who are unemployed; want a job but have not looked for one; or are employed but working less than half of their usual hours for reasons likely related to COVID-19.
The number of people searching for work dropped by 58,000 (-4.3%) in September and was the only component of underutilization to decline in the month. This decline was partly offset by an increase in the number of people on temporary layoff (+40,000; +35.7%), which ticked up after having returned to its February 2020 level in July.
All components of the underutilization rate were higher in September than in February 2020, including job searchers (+231,000; +22.1%); those who were employed but worked less than half their usual hours (+218,000; +26.8%); those who wanted a job but who did not look for one (+56,000; +14.2%); and those on temporary layoff (+46,000; +43.3%).