August Labour Force Survey (LFS) data reflect labour market conditions during the week of August 15 to 21. By the August reference week, most jurisdictions in Canada had implemented the final or near-final stages of their public health reopening plans. Indoor locations, such as restaurants, recreation facilities, personal care services, retail stores, and entertainment venues, were generally permitted to be open, with varying degrees of capacity restrictions. In addition, for the first time since March 2020, on August 9 fully vaccinated non-essential travellers from the United States were permitted to enter Canada without quarantine requirements, expanding potential clientele for businesses in tourist areas.

Employment rose by 90,000 (+0.5%) in August, the third consecutive monthly increase. Employment is within 156,000 (-0.8%) of its February 2020 level, the closest since the onset of the pandemic. August employment gains were concentrated in full-time work (+69,000; +0.4%). Increases were mainly in services-producing industries, led by accommodation and food services, and were spread across multiple demographic groups.

Highlights are as follows:

  • Total hours worked were little changed and were 2.6% below their pre-pandemic level.
  • Most of the employment gains occurred among private sector employees (+77,000; +0.6%). Self-employment was little changed.
  • Among workers who worked at least half their usual hours, the proportion working from home fell 1.8 percentage points to 24.0% in August, the lowest share since the onset of the pandemic.
  • Employment increased in the services-producing sector for the third consecutive month in August (+93,000), led by gains in accommodation and food services (+75,000), and information, culture and recreation (+24,000).
  • The number of people working in construction increased (+20,000; +1.4%) for the first time since March 2021.
  • Employment increased in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. All other provinces recorded little or no change.

Unemployment rate at lowest level since February 2020

The unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points to 7.1% in August, the lowest rate since the onset of the pandemic. The unemployment rate among 15-to-69-year-olds who belong to population groups designated as visible minorities was 9.8% in August, little changed for a second consecutive month. Long-term unemployment dropped 29,000 (-6.7%) to 394,000 in August, but remained 215,000 (+120.0%) higher than in February 2020.

To view the full August Labour Force Survey, click here. 

Source: Statistics Canada