Now that a small portion of the most vulnerable Canadians have been vaccinated against COVID-19, what is the outlook for this spring, marked by the increase in variant cases in several regions of the country?
Data from the Labor Force Survey (LFS) for March 2021 are published: Canada’s economy has rebounded, according to Statistics Canada. The unemployment rate fell 0.7 percentage points to 7.5%, the lowest rate since the start of the pandemic in February 2020. Despite this decrease, the number of unemployed stood at 1.5 million, up 32.4% from the same date.
Employment, meanwhile, rose 1.6%. It is also growing in all provinces except Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, where it has remained unchanged. The largest increases were recorded in Ontario (+ 2.5%), Alberta (+ 1.7%), British Columbia (+ 1.3%) and Quebec (+ 0.6%).
Some sectors are coming back to life … for the moment
Due to the easing of public health restrictions in several provinces and regions in March, employment increased in retail trade (+95,000) as well as in information, culture and recreation (+62,000 ).
The accommodation and food services sector also had a breath of fresh air, hiring an additional 21,000 workers across the country, including the reopening of some dining halls.
However, with the recent tightening of health measures, particularly in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia, this increase is likely to be short-lived. The impact of these new restrictions is expected to be reflected in the April EPA results, which will be released in May.
That said, other sectors posted “good looks” in March: gains were recorded in health care and social assistance (+ 1.9%), in educational services (+2.4 %) as well as in construction (+ 1.8%).
Still, March had its fair share of good news. For example, the Quebec and federal governments have announced an investment of $ 100 million for the construction of a battery assembly plant for electric vehicles in Saint-Jérôme. Some 135 jobs will be created when the plant opens in 2023.
For its part, the Ontario government has invested $ 55 million to build a new plant for Sanofi Pasteur Limited, a world leader in biopharmacy and vaccines. This investment is expected to meet the growing demand for vaccines and will create 300 high-quality jobs.