OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the economy added 154,000 jobs in November as the labour market showed more signs it’s returning to pre-pandemic levels.
The unemployment rate fell to 6.0 per cent last month compared with 6.7 per cent in October.
That brought the headline rate to within 0.3 percentage points of the 5.7 per cent recorded in February 2020 just before the pandemic struck.
Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate would have been 7.8 per cent in November had it included Canadians who wanted to work but didn’t search for a job, down from 8.7 per cent in October.
Statistics Canada also says that the number of long-term unemployed fell by 62,000, marking the first monthly drop since August.
The agency says the decline in long-term unemployed was particularly sharp for Canadians who had been out of work for a year or more.
Statistics Canada also says that total hours worked returned to pre-pandemic levels for the first time in November, following a stretch where some workers had seen their hours cut.
Six provinces — Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island — saw gains, with few changes for the remaining four. The agency notes that the monthly jobs survey took place just before severe flooding struck British Columbia.
With unemployment declining and job vacancies ticking upwards, the statistics office says signs point to new or worsening labour shortages or skill mismatches.
Leah Nord, senior director of workforce strategies for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, says the country is no better off today than pre-pandemic because there is still no meaningful way to connect unemployed workers with available jobs.
“Now clear of the impacts of support programs, our labour market’s structural problem is laid bare: an entrenched misalignment between the skills employers are looking for and job seekers are offering,” she says, warning that labour market pains are likely to worsen through early next year.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2021.