April 2022 Labour Force Update

Employment numbers in Canada were relatively unchanged during April of 2022, with the unemployment rate dropping a tenth of a percentage point to 5.2%, besting the record-low of 5.3% set a month earlier. Data released by Statistics Canada1 on May 6 showed employment levels rising in Atlantic Canada and Alberta during the reference week of April 10-16, while jobs numbers dipped in Quebec. 

Core-Aged Employment Grows for Women, Dips for Men

The employment rate, which measures the proportion of the overall population that is employed, was unchanged at 61.9%.

Employment amongst core-aged women (25 to 54) grew by 43,000 in April (+0.7%), while men in that age category lost 36,000 jobs (-0.5%). Part time work comprised the bulk of the movement for both. 

The core-aged employment rate for the population as a whole was 84.6%. Year over year increases in employment rates were seen for Indigenous men (+4.9% to 78.8%) and women (+5.7% to 74%) living off reserve. The rate for core-aged immigrants who landed in Canada within the past five years was 77.1% (+3.9% year over year).

Total Work Hours Fall Slightly in April

Despite high employment numbers, the total number of hours worked in Canada fell 1.9% below those recorded in March. This excludes those who were absent from work as a result of the Good Friday holiday or vacation. 

A contributing factor was the sixth wave of the Covid-19 virus, which peaked in many provinces in April. A Manitoba blizzard didn’t help either. 

Services and Goods-Producing Sectors Hold Steady

Little change was seen in employment numbers in the goods-producing and services-producing sectors, although some specific industries experienced movement. 

Employment in the professional, scientific and technical services industry continues to outpace broader numbers, with 15,000 jobs gained in April. Public administration employment increased as well. Retail, meanwhile, shed 22,000 jobs (seasonally adjusted), following two months of increases. Construction was also down, losing 21,000 jobs after a four month growth period. 

Atlantic Canada, Alberta Employment Up, Quebec Down

The number of people working in New Brunswick increased by 6,700, surpassing pre-Covid levels for the first time. Nova Scotia added 5,900 jobs, Newfoundland and Labrador added 2,500, and Alberta saw 16,000 new jobs. Quebec employment decreased by 27,000.

Wage Increases 

Compared to April of 2019 there are 1.3 million fewer employees in Canada being compensated at a rate lower than $20/hour. This group now represents 25.9% of all employees, after having accounted for 35.5% of all employees three years prior. 

During the same time frame the number of employees making $40/hour or more grew by 1.2 million, now representing 24.5% of employees (up from 18%).

IndustryApril 2022 ChangeMarch 2022 Change
Natural Resources ( Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction)-1.78.8
Transportation & Warehousing6.7-9.8
Finance & Insurance-1.65.0
Wholesale & Retail Trade-17.910.0
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services15.1-10.5
Information, Culture and Recreation12.64.4
Accommodation & Food Services4.215
Business, Building & Other Support Services-3.38.7

Figures displayed are Canada-wide and x 1000

Candidates’ Market Requires Decisive Action

The atmosphere is competitive for qualified talent and Goldbeck Recruiting President Henry Goldbeck is advising his clients to move with purpose. 

“Employers needs to have a process that is employee-friendly and positive from an employer branding point of view,” he says. “If they don’t make decisions expeditiously, they’ll lose candidates.”2

Goldbeck believes that recruiting in the current environment requires a sustained effort. 

“Our clients have to be prepared to continue moving, and not stop their funnel until the person shows up for work,” he says, adding that counter-offers are the norm. “Even if they do everything right, they will lose candidates,” he continues. “It doesn’t mean they’re a bad company, and they can’t take it personally.” 

Lack of Flexibility a Deal-Breaker for Candidates

Goldbeck says that some degree of hybrid work flexibility is a must for companies looking to recruit. 

“It’s very rare that a client expects their employees to be in the office 100% of the time,” he says. “Our clients that insist that their job cannot be done remotely have lost candidate after candidate after candidate, because nobody is interested. If you don’t offer some hybrid flexibility, you’re shrinking your candidate pool by 75% or more, in terms of qualified, experienced people who would otherwise be interested in your position.” 

Employees Willing to Change Companies 

Goldbeck has seen stiff competition for good candidates in every industry, but does report that candidate attitudes have changed since earlier in the pandemic.

“People were afraid to move,” he says. “They were really security conscious and unwilling to give up a job and risk going to a new unknown. That has changed now,” he continues, “they’re not afraid of the future.”

On the flip side, candidates are increasingly comfortable asking their current employers for raises. “They know it’s an employee’s market, and they’re going to look at all of their options,” says Goldbeck. “It’s not like people are asking for the moon, but they know their value and they know the market.” 

Cited Sources
1 Government of Canada, Statistics Canada. “Labour Force Survey, April 2022.” The Daily – , May 6, 2022. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/220506/dq220506a-eng.htm
2 Personal communication with Henry Goldbeck