Last Updated on February 5, 2021

Canada lost 213,000 jobs in January as second wave coronavirus restrictions took hold on the economies of Ontario and Quebec, according to the latest federal government figures.

The Canada jobs Labour Market Survey saw unemployment increase to 9.4 percent during the month, as the country took a step back in its economic recovery from COVID-19.

The recorded losses were entirely in part-time work, and concentrated in the retail trade sectors of Ontario and Quebec, as both provinces took steps to close non-essential shops to limit the spread of the pandemic.

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Job losses were concentrated in the sectors most affected by measures taken to curb the spread of COVID-19, including accommodation and food services (-8.2%), retail trade (-7.4%), and information, culture and recreation (-2.4%).

Other sectors fared better, including construction, where employment rose by 39,000 jobs, or 2.8 percent. The health care and social assistance sector also added 19,000 jobs, a 0.7 per cent increase, to bring employment back to pre-coronavirus levels.

Young people were at the sharp end of the losses, with an employment drop of 108,000 jobs recorded for 15 to 24-year-olds.

Employment fell by 107,000 (-0.9%) among people aged 25 to 54, with the decline among women in the age-group (-73,000 or -1.3%) more than double that of men (-33,500 or -0.5%).

What Are The Labour Force Survey Highlights?

Unemployment rate (%) 9.4
Employment rate (%) 58.6
Labour force participation rate (%) 64.7
Number unemployed 1,889,000
Number working 18,272,000
Youth (15-24) unemployment rate (%) 19.7
Men (over 25) unemployment rate (%) 7.6
Women (over 25) unemployment rate (%) 8.0

Source: Statistics Canada

Provincial Canada Jobs Picture

Provincially, Ontario and Quebec bore the brunt of the losses, with employment falling by a total of 251,000 jobs between them.

The losses eclipsed gains see by seven of the eight other provinces, notably Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Unemployment Rates In Canada’s Provinces

Jobs change in last month Unemployment rate (%)
British Columbia 2,800 8.0
Alberta 20,800 10.7
Saskatchewan 2.200 7.2
Manitoba 5,500 8.0
Ontario -153,500 10.2
Quebec -97,900 8.8
New Brunswick 1,100 8.8
Nova Scotia 7,800 8.3
Prince Edward Island 900 7.9
Newfoundland & Labrador -2,700 12.8
CANADA -212,800 9.4

Source: Statistics Canada

With coronavirus restrictions easing in both Ontario and Quebec, officials will be looking for a swift rebound in the jobs figures for February.

Meanwhile, continued delays in vaccine deliveries are proving frustrating for the overall effort to tackle the pandemic in Canada.

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