Statistics Canada says the economy added nearly one million jobs in June as businesses forced closed by the pandemic began to reopen.
The agency says 953,000 jobs were added last month, including 488,000 full-time and 465,000 part-time positions.
The unemployment rate fell to 12.3 per cent in June after hitting a record-high of 13.7 per cent in May.
As in May, even though more people found jobs, more people were also looking for work.
The average economist estimate for June had been for an addition of 700,000 jobs and the unemployment rate to fall to 12.0 per cent, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.
Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate would have been 16.3 per cent had it included in unemployment counts those who wanted to work, but did not look for a job.
The jobs report this morning says there are still some 3.1 million people affected by the shutdowns of March and April when public health restrictions forced businesses to close and workers to stay at home to slow the spread of COVID-19.
About 2.5 million didn’t have jobs in June, either due to temporary or permanent layoffs, while the remainder are working less than half their usual hours.
As restrictions eased, the number of people participating in the labour force grew by about 786,000 after May’s 491,000 gain, bringing those considered in the labour force to within 443,000 of its pre-pandemic level.
The gains, though, have not been shared equally between men and women, with the former gaining back jobs at a faster pace than the latter.
The unemployment rate for women was 12.7 per cent in June compared to 12.1 per cent for men. Similarly, the participation rate for core-aged men was less than one percentage point below the February level, while for women it was 1.4 percentage points short.
The underutilization rate — which counts those who are unemployed, those who want a job but didn’t look for one, and those working less than half their usual hours — was 28.3 for women and 25.5 per cent for men.
The Bank of Canada and federal government say the worst of the economic pain from the pandemic is behind the country, but Canada will face high unemployment and low growth until 2021.
The economic outlook released by the Liberal government Wednesday forecast the unemployment rate to be 9.8 per cent for the calendar year, dropping to 7.8 per cent next year based on forecasts by 13 private sector economists.
The Canadian Press
Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.