Canada lost 213,000 jobs in January 2021.

By Vijay Lala



Immiboards ― Canada’s labour market lost 213,000 jobs in January 2021. As per Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate closed at 9.4% – a 0.6% increase compared to December 2020

This is the highest unemployment rate increases to the highest level since August 2020. 

Job losses were entirely in the part-time jobs while permanent jobs remained steady. 

The decline concentrated in Central Canada. 

Ontario and Quebec lost 251,000 jobs in January 2021. Employment rose in Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. It remaining steady in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.

More Canadians worked from home.

Canadians working from home increased by 700,000 to 5.4 million, which is more than those working from home in April 2020 during the first wave of Covid-19.

Canada jobs lost in January 2021 – The bulk of job losses came from retail trade, accommodation and the foodservice industry.

Public health measures have directly impacted these industries.

Canadian job losses were more noticeable in small establishments (less than 20 employees) and establishments with 20 to 99 employees.

Employment is up in health care and social assistance

The number of people working in health care and social assistance increased by 19,000 in January (+0.7%), bringing employment in the sector back to its pre-COVID level. Almost all of the gain in January occurred in Ontario.

The health care and social assistance industry had a higher job vacancy rate than all other sectors in November 2020. They accounted for more than one-fifth (112,700) of all job vacancies (not seasonally adjusted). 

While high job vacancies can be an indicator of growing employment, they can also signal mismatches between labour supply and demand.

Immigrants dominate this industry. Disruptions to immigration resulting from COVID-19 travel restrictions may partially explain the high level of job vacancies in health care, as immigrants play a critical role in the sector. As of January 2021, 41.3% of nurse aides and orderlies and 42.8% of specialist physicians were immigrants.

Jobs in the construction industry are now back to pre-covid levels of February 2020. 

Canada jobs lost in January 2021 – Employment in retail trade took a big hit.

The job loss totalled 160,000 in the retail business. More than 90% of the drop came from Ontario and Quebec, which implemented non-essential shopping restrictions.

The employment rate for very recent immigrants remains steady.

Among immigrants who landed within the last five years, the employment rate remained steady on a year-over-year basis (not seasonally adjusted). 

The employment rate for those who landed more than five years ago dropped 2.5% points to 57.5%, and for people born in Canada, it fell by 3.0% points to 58.7%.

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By Vijay Lala

Vijay Lala is the founder and editor-in-chief of Dual master's degrees in Political Science and Economics, along with a decade of Canadian immigration research experience, have equipped him with a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of immigration law, policy research, and settlement issues. Linkedin  Twitter

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