The resilient Canadian economy continues to add jobs as immigration appears on track to break yet another record.
The country’s labour market shows no signs of slowing down. In April, employment increased by 41,000 jobs last month.
According to the monthly Statistics Canada jobs report, the increase in jobs was entirely in part-time work.
More than 600,000 newcomers are expected to arrive in Canada this year, with most settling in Ontario.
Ontario added 33,000 new jobs
Canada’s goal was to welcome 465,000 new immigrants this year after admitting a record-breaking 431,000 newcomers in 2022, mainly from India, the Philippines and China.
In 2024 the country hopes to land 485,000 newcomers, followed by 500,000 in 2025.
Ontario, the favoured landing spot for newcomers and international students, added 33,000 new jobs in April. Prince Edward Island saw a gain of 2,200 jobs.
The jobless rate remains at 5 percent
Manitoba lost 4,000 jobs, and other provinces’ jobs markets remained unchanged.
Full-time work fell by 6,200; self-employment was flat, while 47,000 new part-time positions were added.
For the fifth month in a row, Canada’s unemployment rate sits at 5.0 percent, just slightly above the all-time low of 4.9 percent set in the summer of 2022.
The unemployment rate in Ontario is 4.9 percent. That’s the lowest since October 1989.
Royce Mendes, an economist with Desjardins, told the CBC’s senior business writer Pete Evans that “the ongoing spike in the population means that hiring isn’t tightening the labour market as much as it would otherwise be.”
Mendes added that “newcomers to Canada were still finding work with relative ease in April, with the economy adding jobs for an eighth month in a row.”
Job wage gains are outpacing inflation
In April, the average hourly wage was $33.38, an increase of $1.66, or 5.2 percent, compared to the same month a year ago.
That is the third consecutive month where wage gains have outpaced outpacing inflation.
Fears of increased inflation and a looming recession prompt speculation that the Bank of Canada will end its interest rate pause.
Housing markets show signs of recovery
BMO chief economist Douglas Porter has warned that if labour market growth and wage hikes persist “through the spring, the Bank of Canada may yet be forced to rethink its rate pause, especially with the housing market showing signs of reviving.”
In the face of slowing inflation, the Bank of Canada paused its interest rate hiking strategy earlier this year. The interest rate now sits at 4.5 percent, amid predictions it will fall to three percent by the end of the year.
The Canadian job market is strong
The bank’s strategy has been that higher borrowing costs will force people and businesses to cut spending and force employers to rethink hiring plans.
However, the labour market remains strong in the face of numerous and continuing predictions of a slowdown for the economy predicting a slowdown to start the year.
Fear of a recession persists
The Canadian central bank’s goal is to get the inflation rate back down to two percent, which is proving difficult, prompting fears of more rate hikes and a recession.
Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem recently warned about the labour market statistics and wage growth.
“Most wage growth measures remain around the four to five percent range,” Macklem said. “Unless productivity growth surprises us with a strong increase, persistent wage growth in that range will make it difficult to achieve the two per cent inflation target.”
Good job news for new arrivals
As for fears of a recession, Globe and Mail columnist Ian McGugen said, “In my view – and, more importantly, in the view of most economic models – a recession is still the most likely possibility.
“The problem is figuring out when it might arrive.”
Still, the April jobless stats remain good news for newcomers and international students arriving in 2023.
“Even though (the April) increase in employment was fairly narrowly based and driven by part-time work, the labour market is clearly stronger and tighter than we would have expected given signs of deceleration in economic growth,” Andrew Grantham, a senior economist with CIBC capital markets, told Ismail Shakil of Reuters.
Quebec has the lowest unemployment rate of 4.1 percent, followed by Saskatchewan and Manitoba at 4.8 percent.
Most newcomers are in the core-age group
Some other demographic highlights for newcomers to Canada from the Statistics Canada jobless report include:
- Employment for core-aged men (25 to 54) rose by 18,000 (0.3 percent) in April.
- Employment among core-aged women was static for the third consecutive month.
- Year-over-year, employment grew faster among core-aged women (133,000; 2.2 percent) than among core-aged men (97,000; 1.5 percent).
- Employment for men aged 55 and older rose by 16,000 (0.7%) in April, while it held steady for women in the same age group. ⁃ Employment held steady in April for young men and women aged 15 to 24.
According to 2021 census data, nearly 66 percent of newcomers to Canada (64.2 percent) between 2016 and 2021 were in the age range defined as core working age (25 to 54 years old).
Meanwhile, according to the recently released Statistics Canada’s Survey on Business Conditions, businesses in Canada say they expect to face a variety of obstacles over the summer months because of inflation and the rising cost of essentials such as labour, capital, energy and raw materials. They also cite hiring and retention of staff as a key issue.
The report says 15 percent of businesses expect recruiting skilled employees will be a problem.
*No AI-Generated content was used in the writing of this story, and all sources are cited and credited where possible.
© Prepare for Canada 2023