Canada’s job growth unexpectedly picked up steam in September. Anthony Okolie talks with Sri Thanabalasingam, Senior Economist, TD Bank, about the positive job momentum, the factors behind the job gain, and what it could mean for the economic recovery.
- The Canadian job numbers for September were, surprisingly, very strong. Sri, what's your take?
- Yeah, this was a solid report. The amount of job gains came in stronger than what we had expected. So it's pretty much telling us that the recovery is ongoing and Canada is doing quite well. 76% of the jobs that were lost in March and April have been recovered. We've seen that in some sectors that are related more to the public side of things. However, there are still challenges ahead, even despite the strong recovery.
- OK, so break down the numbers for us. Where are most of the job gains coming from?
- So, as I had mentioned, on the public side of things, we've seen a lot of job gains in education services, as well as food and accommodation services. On the food and accommodation side, this is a sector that was ravaged by the pandemic. And so it's still rebounding.
In terms of pure levels, it's still quite low, much, much weaker than where it was in February. But it is coming back. And then on another dimension, across full-time and part-time employment, we're seeing more of the job gains in full-time employment. And that's also encouraging because it means a more steady income stream for Canadian households.
- Now, certainly, that's very positive on the full-time job front. How do the jobs break out by province?
- When you look at it by province, we've seen employment gains across all provinces except New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Ontario and Quebec are leading the way-- again, in those sectors, accommodation and food services, as well as educational services. And then we saw also solid job gains across all the western provinces, as well. New Brunswick there was a little change. And PEI had a slight decline.
- And what about those groups that were harder hit by the pandemic than others? Are you seeing any positive trends there?
- Yeah, yeah. Even there, when you look at parental employment rates for both males and females, we've seen employment improve to above pre-pandemic levels. And so that again is very encouraging. And it coincides with schools reopening. But on the flip side, youth employment continues to be weak, where male and female youth employment is still about 10% below where it was in February.
- OK. So the big question is, how long can this job growth last? And do you see any risks on the horizon?
- Yeah, well, it has surprised on the upside, and that is a good thing. But, as I had mentioned, schools reopening played a role in parents being able to go back to work. Now with the second wave of the virus coming and that complicating matters on the school front, as well as provinces such as Ontario and Quebec contemplating and also imposing stricter measures on certain areas of the economy, this could challenge the labor market recovery going forward.
So we're not expecting the same sort of growth in terms of employment over the coming months. So we are expecting a slower trend. But again, we would welcome any upward surprises.
- Sri, thank you very much for your time.
- Thanks, Anthony.