Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate improves to 6.4 per cent, lowest in the country

·3 min read

Regina– According to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey released on Nov. 6, for the third consecutive month, Saskatchewan has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada, the Ministry of Immigration and Career training said in a release.

Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate improved to 6.4 per cent in October, the lowest among the provinces (seasonally adjusted), and well below the national unemployment rate of 8.9 per cent. October’s unemployment rate in Saskatchewan is down from 6.8 per cent posted in September.

Statistics Canada said the October Labour Force Survey (LFS) results reflect labour market conditions as of the week of October 11 to 17. By then, Statistics Canada noted, “Several provinces had tightened public health measures in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Unlike the widespread economic shutdown implemented in March and April, these measures were targeted at businesses where the risk of COVID transmission is thought to be greater, including indoor restaurants and bars and recreational facilities.”

Employment nationwide increased by 84,000 (+0.5 per cent) in October, after growing by an average of 2.7 per cent per month since May. The national unemployment rate was 8.9 per cent, little changed from September.

Employment increases in several industries were partially offset by a decrease of 48,000 in the accommodation and food services industry, largely in Quebec. Although total employment in the information, culture and recreation industry was little changed in October, it declined notably in Quebec (-11,000), Alberta (-7,200) and Saskatchewan (-2,800). In Quebec, the decline occurred in tandem with measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, which included closing casinos, theatres, cinemas and museums, as well as amusement centres and parks.

“In April, the number of workers directly affected by the COVID-19 economic shutdown peaked at 5.5 million, including a 3.0 million drop in employment and a 2.5 million increase in absences from work. By October, the equivalent figure was 1.1 million, including a drop of 636,000 (-3.3 per cent) in employment and an increase of 433,000 (+53.7 per cent) in the number of Canadians who were employed but working less than half their usual hours,” Statistics Canada said.

Employment increased in five provinces (Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island), and held steady in the rest, including Saskatchewan.

Among those who worked at least half their usual hours, the number of Canadians working from home increased by approximately 150,000 across the country in October, while the number working at locations other than home was little changed.

“In spite of all the significant challenges with the global COVID-19 pandemic, Saskatchewan people are getting back to work and our economy is recovering,” Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said. “With the lowest unemployment rate in Canada, we’re making headway in recovering and then growing our economy.”

Month-to-month, Saskatchewan’s seasonally adjusted employment rate decreased by 1,600, or -0.3 per cent. Year-over-year, Saskatchewan’s employment rate decreased by 19,400, or -3.3 per cent.

In the rest of Western Canada, other provinces have higher unemployment rates in October. Manitoba’s unemployment rate is 7.1 per cent, Alberta came in at 10.7 per cent, and British Columbia is at 8.0 per cent.

Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury