Lockdowns push Canada jobless rate up to 9.4%

Canada shed 213,000 net jobs in January, pushing the unemployment rate up 0.6 percentage points to 9.4 percent, amid new pandemic restrictions, the national statistical agency said Friday.

Jobs in Canada

It marked the country’s highest unemployment rate since August of last year.

The losses were all part-time jobs and concentrated in Quebec and Ontario retail sectors hardest hit by new lockdowns to slow the spread of a second wave of Covid-19, Statistics Canada said.

Employment in accommodation and food services fell 8.2 percent in January. In retail trade it was down 7.4 percent and in information, culture and recreation it fell 2.4 percent.

Employment in construction, however, rose 2.8 percent, driven by gains in Quebec and Alberta. The number of people working in health care and social assistance also climbed back to pre-pandemic levels.

Overall employment remained down 858,000 in January from February 2020, before the Covid-19 outbreak.

A notable drop in youth employment was driven by losses among teenagers. Women aged 25-54 also suffered larger employment losses than core-aged men.

Meanwhile, the number of people working from home rose to 5.4 million, surpassing a high set at the onset of the pandemic.

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