Canada’s Labor Market Sweet as Syrup

Author: Sam Kuhn
10 Mar 23

In Canada, recession fears continue to be pushed further into the future, as the economy’s labor market hums along. After adding a stellar 150,000 new jobs last month, Canada’s employment increased by 22,000 in February.   

Employment growth in Canada from January 2021 to February 2022. Canada's labor market gained 21,800 jobs in February. Created on March 10, 2023 for Appcast.

Job gains were strong across in-person work, with healthcare leading the way at 15,300 new jobs. Similar to the U.S., concerns over a white-collar recession continue to persist as tech layoffs dominate the news cycle. The losses in the information sector (which include tech-related jobs) and finance indicate an ongoing cooling trend to watch closely over the next three to six months. 

Unemployment rate in Canada from 2016 to 2023. With it currently at 5%, the labor market is obviously historically strong. Created on March 10, 2023 for Appcast.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5%, while wages had a modest increase to 5.3% year-over-year. Hourly wage growth continues to hover around 2% above its pre-pandemic level, as the demand for workers continues to be strong. 

Average Hourly Wage Growth in Canada, year-over-year from 2018 to 2023. Wage growth has been strong in 2022, and popped again in February to 5.37%. Created on March 10, 2023 for Appcast.

The Bank of Canada made a major decision to pause interest rate hikes this month over concerns about household debt, a divergence from the Federal Reserve as U.S. policy makers indicate room for higher rate hikes. The labor market continues to be the shining star of the Canadian economy. What remains less optimistic is the future path of inflation and its broader impact on the macroeconomy. 

What does this mean for recruiters? 

While not as eye-popping as January’s employment report, February’s numbers indicate the continued strength of the labor market. An imminent recession is not within the near future. Demand for workers is keeping wages elevated, and potentially inflation as well. 

Recruiters will still have a tough job finding the right talent in 2023, especially for in-person industries like healthcare and transportation and warehousing. 

Economic Data Analyst

Sign up to receive the latest updates!

Demography is Destiny

16 Mar 23
The post-pandemic labor market has been extremely tight with many vacancies left unfilled.
5 minutes

The Fed’s Dilemma: Financial Distress or Entrenched Inflation?

14 Mar 23
Silicon Valley Bank’s failure from a lightning-quick bank run on March 10, the second largest in US history, has spooked financial markets.