BUSINESS
12/04/2020 10:09 EST | Updated 12/04/2020 10:17 EST

Canada Posts Surprisingly Strong Job Growth In November, Just Not For Women

Economists are warning that December could be an ugly month for jobs in Canada.

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The number of jobs nationwide grew by 62,000 in November, Statistics Canada reported Friday, triple the number experts had expected and giving hope that the second wave of COVID-19 restrictions will do less damage to the economy than the first one.

Canada’s jobless rate dropped to 8.5 per cent in November, with almost all job growth concentrated in full-time work, StatCan said. That’s down from a peak of 13.7 per cent in May.

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The latest jobs report is a snapshot of conditions during the week of Nov. 8 to 14, which was before some of the tougher restrictions put into place in recent weeks, amid spiking COVID-19 case counts.

“As a result, it’s likely that COVID will catch up with the Canadian economy in the December data, with a decline expected in both employment and overall economic activity,” CIBC economist Royce Mendes wrote in a client note.

The job growth in November was concentrated among men, StatCan noted. 

Women have been hit considerably harder than men in this economic crisis, largely because their employment is more concentrated in service-industry areas that have been directly affected by the pandemic.

The number of employed men aged 25 and up is down 1.3 per cent from a year ago, while women have lost nearly twice that ― 2 per cent of all jobs.

Among visible minorities, the unemployment rate fell to 10.2 per cent in November, from 11.7 per cent a month earlier. Among non-visible minority, non-Indigenous Canadians, the jobless rate was 6.9 per cent, up 0.2 percentage points from October.

In April, there were 5.5 million Canadians who had lost work or had hours cut due to the pandemic; by November, that number was down to 1 million, Statistics Canada said.

Industries most directly affected by the new restrictions saw employment fall, primarily accommodation and food services. But among industries where employees can work from home, employment “continued to approach or exceed pre-COVID levels,” StatCan said.

But with new restrictions on activity biting into the holiday shopping season, many economists predict the trend will reverse itself in December, and Canada will start seeing not job losses again.

“The high-frequency data show restaurant visits have plunged since the November LFS survey was conducted, suggesting that employment will fall by 150,000 in December,” Capital Economics’ senior Canada economist, Stephen Brown, wrote in a client note.