Based on new data on payroll, earning hours from May reveal how lifting coronavirus restrictions is affecting employment in Canada.
Average weekly wages increased in May, as per the Survey of Employment, Payroll and Hours. This Statistics Canada survey gives monthly information on payroll employment, earnings and hours worked in Canada. At the moment, it is overseeing the impact of coronavirus on Canadian employment, including the Labour Force Survey.
Though the total number of employees decreased 1.8%, the mediate weekly wages jumped from 2% to $1,139 in May. Average weekly wages are estimated by half-splitting total weekly wages by the number of employees.
This gain was leveled by a 2% drop in total work hours in May compared to April. Between February and May, there was a 16.9% loss in total hours worked. With that, mediate hours per week grew slightly, bringing the average weekly work hours to just over 34%.
Construction data pulls through after Quebec’s early ease of restrictions
Construction data in employment swelled by 3.5% up to 28,400 in May. It was the only sector to enjoy gains, following more specialty trade contractors.
All increases in construction were seen in Quebec, where residential construction was allowed to restart in mid-April.
The national level of the employment in construction was still low – about 20% unlike in February.
Average weekly wages were up 2.6% to $1,315 in the construction field unlike in May 2019.
Job loses slowed in retail
Retail sales jumped by 18.7% in May, though they are still 20% behind the February level. The rise was partially seen in employment in Canada.
Loss of employment during recent months slowed. In April the retail sector saw a loss of nearly 279,000 compared to May where about 41,800 people lost their jobs. The total work hours in the retail trade in May rose 2.6% compared to the month before.
Certain retail industries saw earning employment positive shifts in May. Motor vehicle and parts dealers, and building material and garden equipment supply dealers enjoyed about a 4% increase.
Average weekly incomes in the retail trade sector were $676 in May, up 10.5% compared with the same time last year.
The most affected sectors of the employment in Canada
Accommodation and food services were the most affected in May. With a 16.9% loss, which is 116,500 jobs, it saw the largest payroll job decline. The sector kept declining since February; it suffered 770,400 job losses since February, the largest variation over this period compared to all other sectors. Average weekly wages in food services and drinking places were $447.75 in May, the lowest among all subsectors, but up 16.5% compared with May 2019.
Significant drops in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction of 5.6%, and manufacturing of half a percentage point mostly offset the increase in construction, according to Statistics Canada. Income employment in support activities for mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction dropped 27.5% from February. The average weekly wages in the sector reached $1,832 down 1.8% compared with May 2019. Manufacturing declined in all industries; the number of payroll employees declined 16% since February, which means 250,000 lost jobs.
In May, employment in the goods-producing sector was 16.7% below its February level, though the number of jobs edged up by 0.3%, or 7,300 jobs.
The arts, entertainment and recreation sector continues to see job losses. The visible 557.7% decline from February to May was mainly attributed to losses in the amusement, gambling and recreation industries. The performing arts, spectator sports and related industries also suffered massive declines. The losses of lower-paid workers brought the mediate weekly wages from 27.3% from a year earlier to $798.
Employment in Canada rises in June
The Labour Force Survey reported in July that initial rise in Canadian employment was sharper than previous economic downturns. The coronavirus lockdown caused employment to fall 15.7% in just two months. The 2008-2009 recession, by contrast, dropped 2.5% in nine months.
The easing of coronavirus restrictions in May and June brought the first recovery of employment to 9.2% of February’s levels. In preceding economic downturn, recovery to pre-deflation has taken from two to five years.
The labour force survey suggested that Canada’s labour market recovery was well underway in all provinces and most sectors in June.
Source: Statistics Canada