The health crisis has been going on for a year now. Here’s what the job market looks like right now, as the new variants raise fears of new waves of the virus this spring.
On the one hand, the new variants of COVID-19 are scary. On the other hand, the data from Statistics Canada’s most recent Labor Force Survey are encouraging: in February 2021, the Canadian unemployment rate was at its lowest level since the start of the pandemic, at 8.2 %. It also created 259,000 jobs during that month. Gains that make it possible to compensate for the 266,000 jobs lost in December and January.
In Quebec, the unemployment rate is also at its lowest level in a year. After declining 2.4 percentage points, it stands at 6.4%. The number of jobs stood at 113,000, an increase of 2.7% from January. This increase is mainly explained by the partial lifting of restrictions by public health.
With the exception of Saskatchewan, the western provinces are also showing a decline in the unemployment rate. The opposite trend is recorded in the Maritime provinces. For example, Prince Edward Island’s unemployment rate fell from 7.9% in January to 9.2% in February.
Aeronautics in free fall
As in previous months, significant job losses were recorded in the aeronautics sector. In order to deal with “pandemic disruptions”, Bombardier cut 1,600 jobs in February 2021, including 700 in Quebec, 100 in Ontario and 800 in the United States. These layoffs are in addition to the 2,500 announced in June 2020.
A similar scenario played out with Air Canada. After 1,700 layoffs in January, the airline carried out 1,500 in February. A decision that affected employees across the country.
ICT and aerospace booming
Other sectors are doing better. Aerospace, for example, announced last February the development of a new Telesat Lightspeed satellite network. A project which, if it comes to fruition, would create more than 600 highly skilled jobs in Quebec.
In Ontario, the government of Doug Ford announced a $ 2.5 million investment for its portable contact tracing technology TraceSCAN, which alerts users in a workplace that have been in close contact with test takers. positive for COVID-19.
The company plans to manufacture around 150,000 devices and create 68 new jobs, including machine learning specialists as well as software, firmware and hardware engineers.