State of the Labour Market

April Labour Force Survey: Youth Lead Another Monthly Surge

The working-age employment rate hit an all-time high of 74.5%

Those waiting for a pull-back in labour market momentum will have to wait another month. StatCan finds the job market took another leap forward to start Q2, continuing a trend of strong employment growth defying other lukewarm data. While a rise in part-time jobs helped lead the headline number, the gain in full-time employment was also impressive.  

The working-age employment rate smashed through its previous record to hit an all-time high of 74.5%. This was partly boosted by a large jump in the youth employment rate, which surged back to levels not seen since 2008. After a down year in 2018, the youth employment rate is up 2.8 percentage points since December–an eye-popping jump. Even if some of these gains eventually ease somewhat, progress has been substantial.

Markets have generally interpreted that the Bank of Canada has placed more weight on the soft broader economic data than 2019’s strong job growth. Broader measures of wage growth might not be high, but the persistence of recent labour market momentum could shift some expectations in the other direction.

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