Employment growth slowed in October as several provinces tightened public health measures in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Employment rose by 84,000, led by an increase in full-time work. Gains in professional, scientific, and technical services and in retail trade were partly offset by lower employment in accommodation and food services, with losses in this sector concentrated in Quebec. October’s headline gain brought total employment to within 636,000 of its pre-COVID level.

Higher employment among core-age workers accounted for much of the headline increase in October. Among 25- to 54-year-olds, employment was 1.7% below its pre-COVID level. Employment among young Canadians was little changed and remained over 10% below the level observed in February.

Canada’s unemployment rate edged down to 8.9% in October, after peaking at 13.7% in May. The unemployment rate among core-age workers declined to 7.1%, while the rate among young Canadians edged down to 18.8%. In all, 1.8 million Canadians were unemployed in October, compared to 1.1 million in February.

After peaking at 5.5 million in April, the total number of Canadian workers directly affected by the COVID-19 economic shutdown stood at 1.1 million in October. This includes net employment losses of 636,000 along with an increase of 433,000 in the number of Canadians who were employed but working less than half their usual hours.

A new study released on October 28, titled “Recent Developments in the Canadian Economy, 2020: COVID-19, fourth edition,” provides an integrated overview of key changes in output and employment in the months following the lockdown measures and highlights the unevenness of the economic recovery across sectors and demographic groups. It is part of a series of articles that present economic developments related to COVID-19 as new data and information become available.

On November 4th, the agency released September’s international merchandise trade report. After edging lower in August as trade flows stabilized, merchandise trade picked up in September as both exports and imports advanced. At $94.3 billion, merchandise trade in September was 4% below pre-COVID levels. Much of the decline in the total value of trade since February reflected decreases in energy products and aircraft and other transportation equipment.

Overall exports in September were 5.8% below pre-COVID levels, reflecting a sharp decrease in energy exports and lower shipments to the United States. Exports to countries other than the U.S. were 1% above pre-pandemic levels.

Merchandise imports also rose 1.5% in September, led by a notable increase in crude oil shipments and higher imports of industrial machinery and equipment. Total merchandise imports in September were 2.3% below pre-pandemic levels, reflecting lower shipments from the United States.

While merchandise trade flows have largely rebounded to near pre-pandemic levels, Canada’s international trade in services remained well below levels observed in February, due to severe contractions in travel-related services. Receipts from travel services in September were 70% below pre-COVID levels, while payments for travel services were 90% below.

Source: Statistics Canda
Source: Statistics Canda