Canada adds 39,900 jobs, falling short of population growth

Canada’s labor market experienced an unexpected boost last month, with the addition of 39,900 jobs, nearly double what economists had anticipated. However, this job growth fell far short of what would be needed to keep pace with the country’s surging population, according to data released by Statistics Canada on Friday.

Employment Rate Declines Despite Job Gains: Despite the uptick in job creation, Canada’s employment rate, which measures the proportion of working-age adults with jobs, declined by 0.1 percentage points to 61.9 percent. This decline was attributed to the simultaneous addition of approximately 103,000 new individuals to the country’s population.

Sectoral Analysis: Winners and Losers

Among the sectors contributing to the employment surge, professional, scientific, and technical services emerged as a significant source of strength, adding 52,000 positions. The construction sector also saw a healthy increase, with 34,000 new jobs. Conversely, the education sector experienced a decline, shedding 44,000 jobs, while manufacturing contracted by 30,000 positions.

Self-Employment on the Rise: Most newly created jobs were self-employment, expanding by 50,000 positions. Meanwhile, the public sector saw an increase of 13,000 jobs, while the private sector contracted 23,000 jobs.

Population Growth Outpacing Job Creation: In the context of this year, Canada’s job market has added approximately 174,000 new positions, averaging around 25,000 new jobs per month. However, this growth is dwarfed by the surge in the working-age population, which has increased by about three times that rate, with Canada adding an average of 83,000 people aged 15 or older every month.

Population Growth Driving Labor Market:
 Economists, including Doug Porter from the Bank of Montreal, emphasize that the continuous influx of over 800,000 new individuals to Canada in the past year is the primary driver of the job market’s dynamics. According to Porter, Canada needs a steady stream of job creation to match the rapid population growth, leading to a situation where substantial job gains may still indicate a slightly easing labor market.

Bank of Canada’s Perspective: Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem noted that even in months when the economy adds jobs, the rate of job creation is not outpacing population growth, indicating that it is not exacerbating inflationary pressures. This suggests that the supply of workers is growing faster than the demand, moderating labor market pressures.

Impact on Inflation: Brendon Bernard, a senior economist at job search site, pointed out that Canada’s surging population affects both sides of the inflationary spectrum. While it can increase inflationary pressures in areas like housing due to heightened demand, it also contributes to a larger labor supply, potentially alleviating wage and service price pressures.

In conclusion, Canada’s rapid population growth is reshaping the definition of a healthy job market, with the country needing to create jobs at an accelerated pace to match its expanding workforce. This unique economic context underscores the complexity of balancing job growth with population dynamics and its impact on inflation.

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