By August most parts of Canada had reopened. Most restaurants, retail stores, and entertainment venues were permitted to open to the public. In addition, for the first time since March 2020, fully vaccinated non-essential travellers from the US were permitted to enter Canada without any restrictions or quarantine requirements.

Employment rose by 90,000 in August for the third consecutive month. The great news is that most of the jobs were full-time (69,000). This increase was mainly seen in service-producing industries and led by accommodation and food services. Also, most employment gains were seen among the private sector employees (77,000).

Employment increased in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia in August. All other provinces recorded little or no change. For the third consecutive month, British Columbia was the lone province with employment above its pre-pandemic level. Compared with February 2020, the employment gap was largest in Prince Edward Island (-3.4%) and New Brunswick (-2.7%).

The employment rate for recent immigrants (in Canada for 5 years or less), increased to 70.4%, a 6.1% increase than a year earlier. Among immigrants who have been in Canada for more than 5 years, the employment rate was almost 59%. Additional, for people born in Canada, the employment rate was 61.4%.

Unemployment in Canada fell for the third consecutive month to 7.1%. This is the lowest since the pandemic started. In the months leading up to the pandemic, the unemployment rate hovered around historic lows of about 5.7%.

Although differences in international comparisons of labour markets might be difficult, comparing Canada and the US can be made by adjusting Canadian data to US concepts. You can check this link for more information. The employment rate is defined as the number of people who are employed as a percentage of the working-age population. Adjusted for US concepts, and for the population aged 16 and older, the employment rate was 61% in Canada and 58.5% in the United States in August. The unemployment rate for the same period was 5.8% in Canada and 5.2% in the United States.

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