Ottawa, ON — The number of people working in the construction industry increased for the first time in six months, reports Statistics Canada. Nearly all the gains in August were in Ontario and British Columbia. Despite the monthly increase, the industry remains 4.2 per cent, or down 62,000, below the level recorded in February 2020. Overall, the construction sector rose by 20,000, or an increase of 1.4 per cent.
Employment in agriculture declined by 11,000 ( down 4.2 per cent) in August. After a partial recovery of COVID-related job losses in late 2020, employment in the industry has declined by 38,000 since November 2020 and was 18.9 per cent (-57,000) below its pre-COVID level in August, proportionally the largest gap among all industries.
Overall, the employment rate rose in Canada for the third consecutive month by 90,000 (up 0.5 per cent). The report also highlights that the employment rate remains higher in Canada (up 61.0 per cent) than in the United States (58.5 per cent).
Combined with gains in June and July, the August increase brought employment to within 156,000 (down 0.8 per cent) of its February 2020 level, the closest since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The employment rate was 60.5 per cent in August, which is 1.3 percentage points below the pre-pandemic rate, reports Statistics Canada.
Employment gains were concentrated in full-time work (up 69,000 or up 0.4 per cent). Increases were mainly seen in service-producing industries, led by accommodation and food services, and were spread across multiple demographic groups.
Total hours worked were little changed and were 2.6 per cent below their pre-pandemic level. Most of the employment gains occurred among private-sector employees (up 77,000 or up 0.6 per cent).
Employment up in four provinces
Employment increased in Ontario (up 53,000 or up 0.7 per cent) , Alberta (up 20,000 or up 0.9 per cent), Saskatchewan (up 10,000 or up 1.8 per cent) and Nova Scotia (up 3,900 or up 0.8 per cent) in August.
All other provinces recorded little or no change. For the third consecutive month, British Columbia was the lone province with employment above its pre-pandemic level. Compared with February 2020, the employment gap was largest in Prince Edward Island (down 3.4 per cent) and New Brunswick (down 2.7 per cent).