The Quebec economy has been recovering very gradually for a few weeks, but the most recent data released by Statistics Canada indicate that nothing has been gained in terms of employment.
A staggering unemployment rate
According to figures for the month of April released by Statistics Canada on May 8, 3 million jobs have been lost in the country since the start of the pandemic, including almost 2 million in April alone. The Canadian unemployment rate jumped from 7.8% in March to 13% in April. “Since comparable data became available in 1976, only the unemployment rate of 13.1% observed in December 1982 has been higher than the rate recorded in April,” writes Statistics Canada in its report.
In this context, the situation in Quebec is far from enviable. Not only does the province have the most COVID-19 deaths in the country, it also has the most job losses, with unemployment rising to 17%. “The province’s decision to completely stop all activities deemed non-essential, which the other provinces have not done, has completely ruined the job market,” La Presse analyzes.
In this article, it is even argued that the situation would be even worse than expected: “Terrible as they may be, the figures for April […] underestimate the reality. Taking into account unemployed people who cannot look for work because everything is closed, the unemployment rate in Canada would be 17.8% rather than 13%. In Quebec, the real unemployment rate would be 20.9% rather than 17%. ”
3 millions jobs lost in Canada since the start of pandemic (in French only)
Employment collapses in Quebec (in French only)
The most affected economic sectors
Statistics Canada also reports that more than half of the jobs lost in the country since the start of the crisis are in accommodation and food services, as well as in wholesale and retail trade.
However, in April, the decline was most pronounced in the construction and manufacturing sectors. This is also the case in Quebec: while construction lost 107,800 jobs, manufacturing saw 113,800 disappear.
Labour Force Survey, April 2020
Sectors that recruit
That said, some sectors have been spared from the crisis, notably those where it is possible to telecommute. Among these are finance, public administration and insurance. Statistics Canada estimates that the number of Canadians who worked from home in April increased by 3.3 million.
There are also employment opportunities in technology, computer and telecommunications, as well as in companies offering online services.
Of course, the so-called priority sectors, such as health, safety, food, delivery and distribution centers, also post many job vacancies.
Le Québec va changer: adieu la pénurie de main-d’oeuvre (in French only)
Where to find a job during the pandemic? (in French only )