Canadian Employment Increases and Unemployment Edges Lower in March 2022

Statistics Canada (StatsCan) reported today (4-8-22) that total employment rose by 73,000 (+0.4%) in March, driven by an increase of 93,000 (+0.6%) in full-time work. Employment gains in March were most notable in the service-producing sector (+42,000 or +0.3%) and the goods-producing sector (+31,000 or +0.8%). Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island all recorded employment growth during the month.

The unemployment rate fell -0.2 percentage points to 5.3% in March, which is the lowest level since comparable data became available in 1976. The previous record low was observed in May 2019 (5.4%). The adjusted unemployment rate—which includes people who wanted a job but did not look for one—was below its pre-pandemic level for the first time at 7.2%. With the exception of an increase in January 2022, the unemployment rate has fallen consistently in recent months, mirroring the situation in other countries with increasingly tight labor markets, including the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

The total number of unemployed people fell by 35,000 (-3.1%) in March to 1.1 million. Of those who had been unemployed in February, about 1 in 5 (21.0%) transitioned into employment in March, slightly higher than the average rate (not seasonally adjusted) observed for the same months in 2017, 2018, and 2019 (17.9%). Among those who were unemployed in March 2022, 225,000 had been continuously searching for work for 27 weeks or more, little changed from February 2022 and 45,000 (+24.9%) higher than in February 2020.

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