Question Period Note: Labour Force Survey for November 2020


Reference number:
Date received:
Dec 4, 2020
Department of Finance Canada
Name of Minister:
Freeland, Chrystia (Hon.)
Title of Minister:
Deputy Prime Minister


• Employment rose by 62,000 jobs in November, meaning that about 2.4 million of the 3 million jobs lost at the peak of the pandemic (i.e. about 81 per cent) have now been recouped.
• The unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points to 8.5% in November, while the labour force participation rate ticked down to 65.1%, from 65.2% in October.
• Employment gains were well above market expectations of a 20,000 increase, and the unemployment rate was better than market expectations of 9.0%.

Suggested Response:

• Today’s seventh straight month of job growth demonstrates the resilience of the economic recovery to date.
• The Canadian economy has recovered over 8 in 10 of the jobs lost in March and April. Still, this leaves nearly 600 thousand Canadians out of work due to COVID-19.
• With cases rising and some restrictions re-imposed in November, our continued economic rebound is fundamentally linked to public health outcomes
• The government will continue to ensure Canadians and businesses are safe and well-supported.



Additional Information:

• A positive report, as the November survey – covering the week of November 8 to 14 – showed a labour market that continued to post solid gains despite rising cases and restrictions being re-imposed in some provinces. Employment was up for a seventh straight month with the gain in full-time employment (+99,000) more than fully accounting for the net gain in overall employment in November.
• Despite the overall job gain, it represented a further slowdown from the 84,000 gain in October and the 378,000 jump in September. Further, employment in those sectors targeted by the recent restrictions continued to decline in November, with information, cultural and recreation employment falling by 26,000 and accommodation and food services employment by 24,000. These losses were more than offset by strong gains in wholesale and retail trade, construction, as well as transportation and warehousing. Employment increased in 6 out of 10 provinces, led by gains in Ontario and British Columbia that more than offset losses in Manitoba and Alberta.
• In November, the total number of Canadian workers affected by the COVID-19 crisis, either through layoff or substantially reduced hours, stood at 1.0 million, down 82% from the peak of 5.5 million seen in April. Employment is now about 3.0% (or 574,000 jobs) below its pre-pandemic level, whereas in the U.S. it is still 6.5% lower. In Canada, about 45 per cent of the remaining job shortfall is from the accommodation and food services subsector alone.