Employment fell by 207,000 in April as lockdown measures tightened in several regions of the country. Losses in April reflected declines in both full-time and part-time work. Lower employment in Ontario accounted for nearly three quarters of the decrease, while one half of losses reflected lower employment among 15- to 24-year-olds.
Employment levels in public-facing service industries in recent months have moved in parallel with changes in the intensity of public health measures. Employment in accommodation and food services fell 59,000 in April, largely as a result of losses in Ontario and British Columbia, where bans on indoor dining were re-introduced in late March and early April. The number of people working in retail trade fell by 84,000, as stricter restrictions on the operations of non-essential stores were implemented in Ontario, Alberta and several regions of Quebec.
With April’s headline decrease, net employment losses since the onset of the pandemic rose to 503,000, more than half of which reflect losses among young workers. Employment among young women in April was 164,000 below pre-pandemic levels, while employment among young men was 99,000 below levels reported in February 2020. More than two-thirds of net employment losses since the onset of the pandemic were in accommodation and food services.
Canada’s unemployment rate increased to 8.1% in April. Among 15- to 24-year-olds, the unemployment rate rose to 16.1%. The youth unemployment rate stood at 10.4% prior to the onset of the pandemic.
The labour underutilization rate—which reflects the number of people who are either unemployed, who want a job but did not look for one, or who are employed but worked less than half of their usual hours—rose 2.3 percentage points to 17.0% in April.
The number of Canadians working from home grew by 100,000 in April to 5.1 million. The number of Canadians adapting to COVID-19 by working from home remains above 3 million.