The Canadian labour market took another step in the right direction in July, as tailwinds from the economic re-opening propelled a third straight month of solid job gains. Hard-hit areas of the service sector — which were furthest from pre-pandemic levels in June — continued their rebound last month, with accommodation and food service accounting for an outsized share of job growth. Return to work in these areas is crucial to recovering the massive losses sustained in March and April.
Today’s job numbers continue to highlight the quick wins that were available as things reopened. However, there were signs that further progress might not be as rapid, as a return to work among those temporarily laid off was the prime source of job gains. The job market has now recouped about 55% of its losses, and there’s still a ways to go with the share of the adult population employed remaining 4.5 percentage points below where it was in February. Moreover, the majority of job gains were in part-time work, including among some who would have preferred full-time hours. Getting back to pre-pandemic levels is going to require more gas in the tank.