The employment rate is down in Canada, according to data from Statistics Canada’s most recent Labor Force Survey.
While it had increased in recent months, the employment rate finally fell in January 2022. 200,000 jobs were lost, including 117,000 part-time. For the first time since April 2021, the unemployment rate has thus increased. It reached 6.5% in January, bringing the total number of people who are unemployed in Canada to 1.34 million.
The accommodation and food services sector was the hardest hit by the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the spread of the Omicron variant. Many companies had to submit to stricter health measures during the Labor Force Survey, which took place from January 9 to 15. Restaurants, bars, concert halls and gyms had to limit their capacity.
According to Statistics Canada, the employment increases recorded in recent months in the information, culture and leisure sectors have therefore been erased. The number of jobs fell by 48,000 in January, mainly in Ontario where theaters, cinemas and sports and recreational facilities were closed in January.
Quebec and Ontario the most affected
Ontario and Quebec experienced the largest employment declines, but Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island were also affected.
Young people and women between the ages of 25 and 54, who are more likely to work in the accommodation and food service sectors, have suffered the greatest impact.
Meanwhile, the number of people who were employed but worked less than half their usual hours increased by 620,000, or more than 66%. This is the largest increase since March 2020.
These job losses that took place in January concern only the private sector. The number of public sector employees has remained above the level observed before the pandemic.
Record of absences
Absences due to illness or disability reached an all-time high in January. Statistics Canada notes that 10% of the workforce, or one in 10 employees, were absent from their jobs for these reasons, as the Omicron variant spread through the population.
This is much higher than the average observed on the same date in 2017, 2018 and 2019, with an absenteeism rate of 7.3%.
Before January 2022, the highest level of absences due to illness or disability was recorded in March 2020.