The labour market recovery shifted down a gear in October. Employment growth eased to a pace we are more accustomed to seeing in normal times. While a cool-down was inevitable, the good news is that it comes after solid progress throughout the third quarter. The share of the population with a job isn’t quite back to its pre-pandemic level, but isn’t too far off either. Some of the details underneath the headline in October were also positive, with growth in total hours worked staying strong. 

Leading the way at the industry level was retail trade, where gains were enough to send the number of workers in the industry back to its pre-pandemic level. The same cannot be said for accommodation and food services, where employment slipped for a second straight month. Despite the industry’s elevated job vacancy levels, StatCan noted that average wages have been flat for most occupations within it. One potential reason for little pay growth could be that some employers were waiting to see how the labour market responded to the winddown of the Canada Recovery Benefit, which occurred after the October LFS reference week. 

That said, with overall Canadian job postings on Indeed continuing to grow throughout the month, and the health of the labour market in better shape, it’s unclear how much easier hiring in accommodation and food services will get going forward.