Canada Adds 153,700 Jobs In November, Four Times Greater Than Expectations

Canada’s labour market added 153,700 jobs in November, more than quadruple the 37,500 gain that economists had forecast, according to government agency Statistics Canada.

The job numbers bring Canada’s economy close to full employment at a time when businesses are raising worries about labour shortages and policy makers are considering ways to cool down the economy.

As a result of the gains, Canada’s unemployment rate fell to 6%, which is close to pre-pandemic levels, from 6.7% in October. Employment is now 186,000 jobs beyond where it was in February 2020. Hours worked rose 0.7%, fully recouping COVID-19 losses for the first time.

November’s gains reflect large numbers of people exiting the unemployment ranks, a development that coincided with the federal government’s decision to terminate its key support program for individuals in October.

Unemployment levels fell by 122,000 last month, versus 56,200 in October. Much of that decline came from people who were out of a job for 52 weeks or more. The job-finding rate -- the share of unemployed Canadians in October who appeared to find jobs in November -- jumped to 37%, the highest level since March 2020.

The job gains were evenly split between part-time and full time, with growth led by the private sector. The services sector accounted for most new positions, led by health-care, retail trade and professional services. Manufacturing was responsible for all the job gains in the goods-producing sector.

Friday’s report is consistent with other data that suggest the income-support programs that began in April 2020 may have held back employment gains. The share of people actively looking for employment rose to 30% in October, up from 25% in September, according to job posting website Indeed Canada. The increase was largely driven by unemployed workers who described their search as "immediate."