Part-time work fuels Canadian job growth

The Canadian labour market topped expectations by adding another 10,700 jobs last month.

OTTAWA — The Canadian labour market topped expectations by adding another 10,700 jobs last month and dropping the unemployment rate to 6.8 per cent — but the latest numbers raise questions about the quality of the work.

Statistics Canada’s November employment survey showed yet another monthly decline in full-time work — a figure more than offset by a gain in part-time jobs. The report Friday said the market added 19,400 part-time jobs last month and shed 8,700 full-time positions.

Compared with November 2015, Canada gained 183,200 jobs overall for an increase of 0.1 per cent — but over that period full-time work fell by 30,500 positions, while the part-time category piled up an additional 213,700 jobs.

The result did beat the expectations of economists, who had predicted Canada to shed 20,000 positions in November and for the jobless rate to stay at seven per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.

It was the fourth consecutive month the Canadian workforce saw a net increase in jobs, following gains of 44,000 in October, 67,200 in September and 26,200 in August.

“This was supposed to be a bad report — we had three very strong reports and the expectation was that we would see some give back,” said Frances Donald, senior economist for Manulife Asset Management.

“So, the fact that we saw even modest gains is very positive for the Canadian story.”

Donald noted that some of the underlying data was also positive, such as private-sector employment and people on payroll.

The report found that Canada added 41,300 paid employee jobs last month, while the number of self-employed workers — some of which may have been unpaid — fell by 30,700.

Over the 12 months leading up to November, the labour market added 220,100 employee jobs and shed 22,100 self-employed positions.

Statistics Canada also said the number of private-sector jobs rose by 29,700 jobs last month, while the public sector added 11,600.

With the continued rise in part-time positions — and slide in full-time work — Donald said overall hours worked have been in a steady decline. The November report showed an improvement in the number of hours worked compared to prior months, she added.

“This is one of the indicators that we use to suggest that Canada is in a muddle-through type of environment — slow and steady growth,” Donald said.

“That said, a part-time job is better than no job, so I wouldn’t dismiss part-time job growth entirely.”

The job growth helped push the national unemployment rate down to 6.8 per cent from seven per cent, a move also propelled by data that showed fewer people were searching for work last month.

Many economists said the better-than-expected survey will help encourage Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz to hold off on touching the benchmark interest rate any time soon.

“Overall, given that this decent headline gain followed a string of robust advances, we would characterize this as a healthy reading,” BMO chief economist Douglas Porter wrote in a research note to clients.

The report also showed that the services sector gained 31,200 net new jobs last month, with the bulk of the increase concentrated in finance, insurance and real estate as well as information, culture and recreation.

The country’s goods-producing sector lost 20,600 positions with construction and manufacturing seeing the biggest declines.

Among the provinces, Ontario gained the most jobs last month with 18,900 new positions, an increase of 0.3 per cent compared with October. The province has seen job numbers climb 1.5 per cent over the last year.

Alberta shed 12,800 positions last month — 13,600 of which were full-time jobs. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the hard-hit province fell 1.3 per cent overall, while full-time work slid 3.9 per cent.

British Columbia lost 600 positions last month, but compared to a year earlier it still led all provinces with the fastest growth rate of 2.1 per cent.

Quebec added 8,500 jobs in November and, compared to 12 months earlier, employment there climbed by two per cent.

Nova Scotia saw a month-over-month increase of 0.8 per cent in November by adding 3,700 jobs. The increase, however, was fuelled by part-time work as the province lost 200 full-time positions.

Follow ↕AndyBlatchford on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal study details workers hit hardest by tax, benefit system for extra earnings

OTTAWA — Newly released documents show Finance Department officials calculated that workers… Continue reading

Cenovus. (The Canadian Press)
Cenovus to buy Husky Energy in deal valued at $23.6B, company will remain in Alberta

CALGARY — Cenovus Energy Inc. is buying Husky Energy Inc. in an… Continue reading

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 10:49… Continue reading

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
New Democrats turn minority into majority in British Columbia election

The New Democrats won a majority government in the British Columbia election… Continue reading

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Inquiry into oil and gas foes to deliver report next year: Kenney

CALGARY — An inquiry into who is funding environmental opposition to the… Continue reading

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

The Cogeco logo is seen in Montreal on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

TORONTO — Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world… Continue reading

President Donald Trump, left, and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden during the second and final presidential debate Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Stock market investors are breathing a little easier despite potentially facing higher taxes as the possibility of a contested U.S. presidential election appears to be fading, say investment experts. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Patrick Semansky
Markets concerns about contested U.S. election fading with Biden lead in polls

TORONTO — Stock market investors are breathing a little easier despite potentially… Continue reading

(File photo)
Ontario records more than 1,000 new daily COVID-19 cases for first time

Ontario is reporting more than 1,000 mew daily cases of COVID-19 for… Continue reading

Pope Francis delivers his message during the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope names 13 new cardinals, includes US Archbishop Gregory

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Sunday named 13 new cardinals, including… Continue reading

Dave Mercer, President of Unifor Local 2121, overlooks Conception Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Terra Nova floating production vessel that is anchored there on Friday, October 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
As N.L.’s oil industry sputters, the emotional toll of the cod moratorium looms large

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Dave Mercer spent the early 1990s roaming around… Continue reading

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada's top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Canada’s top physician painted a bleak picture Saturday of the toll the… Continue reading

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole is naming his shadow cabinet, including his predecessor Andrew Scheer as the party's infrastructure critic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole tells Alberta UCP AGM Liberals were “late and confused” on COVID response

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says Alberta has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Most Read