Source: Unsplash

Canada is seeing an explosion of people joining the workforce but there aren’t enough jobs to employ all of the new workers. 

The March 2024 Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada unveils troubling developments in the nation’s job market, with unemployment climbing to 6.1%, exacerbated by the loss of 2,200 jobs, while 60,000 people joined the workforce.

The latest economic assessment arrives amid growing concerns over the sustainability of Canada’s employment growth, particularly in light of its rapidly expanding population. 

“Employment was little changed in March (-2,200; -0.0%) and the employment rate fell 0.1 percentage points to 61.4%,” detailed the report, highlighting the stagnant job creation scenario.

The Conservative party attributed the dismal performance to the economic stewardship of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration. 

“Trudeau’s inflationary spending and taxes have created a broken economy where businesses can’t survive and Canadians can’t find jobs,” wrote the Conservatives in a press release.

While more Canadians competed for fewer jobs, the Conservative party highlighted that the United States recorded “significant job growth, with their unemployment rate falling to 3.8%.”

As for the United States, the country’s economy added 303,000 jobs in March. The US’s unemployment rate has been below 4% for 26 months straight, the longest streak in over 50 years.

Comparatively, the unemployment rate in Canada increased by 1% between March 2023 and 2024. The working-age population of 15 years and older has increased by one million. Only 324,000 jobs were added over the same period, 233,000 being full-time.

The labour force, people actively looking for work, has increased by 571,000 between March 2023 and 2024. The surge in job seekers, amidst a backdrop of insufficient job creation, has significantly contributed to the uptick in the unemployment rate. The number of people searching for a job but unable to find one has risen by 247,000 over the same period.

With Canada’s current population growth, 50,000 new jobs need to be generated monthly for the employment rate to remain stagnant, according to Statistics Canada.

If fewer than 50,000 new jobs are created every month, unemployment will grow. In February, Canada saw employment rise by 41,000, and 37,000 in January. Canadian jobs fell by 2,200 in March, causing the unemployment rate to rise by 0.3%.

The increase in unemployment in March was primarily driven by 60,000 additional people searching for work compared to February, bringing the total amount of unemployed people to 1.3 million, an increase of 247,000 year over year. 

The worst hit age demographic in March was among youth aged 15 to 24, who lost 28,000 jobs. Employment rates increased among core-aged men, 25 to 54 years old, rising by 20,000 jobs. Employment saw little change among core-aged women, as well as young women and men aged 55 or older.

Various industries saw differing changes between February and March. Employment in accommodation and food services fell by 27,000 jobs, wholesale and retail trade lost 23,000 jobs, and professional, scientific, and technical services lost 20,000 jobs in March. However, employment increased in four industries, most notably health care and social assistance, which gained 40,000 jobs. 

Between March 2023 and 2024, employment in the public sector grew by 202,000 jobs. Employment in the private sector grew by 141,000 jobs. 

Self-employment fell by 29,000 jobs, 1.1%, between February and March 2024.

Employment decreased by 18,000 in Quebec, 6,000 in Saskatchewan, and 4,300 in Manitoba. Ontario gained 26,000 jobs. 

Average hourly wages rose 5.1%, reaching $34.81/hour among employees between March 2023 and 2024. This follows a 5% rise in February.