Summer jobs market retreats with rest of the labour force

·2 min read

The last month of the summer job season for returning students recorded more typical employment rates after a boom earlier in the summer, Statistics Canada said on Friday, while the overall job market softened and more people looked for work.

The employment rate for returning students was 55.6 per cent, it said, similar to a year ago and the pre-pandemic August 2019 rate. Employment among all youth aged 15 to 24 fell by 25,000 after five flat months, with young women accounting for most of the job losses.

Employment decreased by 40,000 overall in August, the statistics agency said, mostly due to reductions in education and construction. Ontario was the second-largest laggard with a loss of 19,200 jobs (British Columbia lost more than 28,000). Since May, the Canadian economy has shed 114,000 jobs.

“Though this report is likely to get some people worried, we'd argue that a slowing labour market is what is needed to ensure that this high inflation environment does not become entrenched,” TD senior economist James Orlando wrote to clients.

“The labour market is coming from levels of extreme tightness and has been due for some giveback,” he said. “This is exactly what is currently playing out.”

There was also a “high noise factor” to this month’s job report given the variable expirations of teacher contracts in different provinces, Scotiabank’s chief economist Derek Holt said in a note, suggesting job loss might have been closer to 100,000 or the market could have recorded a 20,000 job gain.

A rising portion of the working population is eyeing a change in job or career, StatCan said, although that has not yet led to an increase in the job-change rate, which remains below pre-pandemic levels.

Almost 12 per cent of permanent employees were planning to leave their job within the next 12 months in August, the labour force survey said, almost double the portion who said so when the question was last asked in January.

Morgan Sharp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Canada's National Observer