March 2022 Labour Force Update

Employment rose by 73,000 in March of 2022 according to numbers released by Statistics Canada1, including a notable increase of 93,000 full time workers. As public health restrictions faded the unemployment rate fell by 0.2% to 5.3%, the lowest rate on record since comparable data became available in 1976. 

The labour market continues to tighten as employment growth outpaces population growth. Since Sept 2021, when employment first returned to pre-pandemic levels, employment has increased by 463,000, while the population aged 15 and over has gown by 236,000.

Unemployment Drops for Male Youths and Core Aged Men

The record low 5.3% unemployment rate erases the former mark of 5.4% from May of 2019. 

Unemployment amongst male youths fell 2.1% to 10.2%, while females in that category held steady at 9.3%. Core aged men (25-54) saw their unemployment rate fall by 6% to a record low 4.1%, while core aged women saw a slight rate increase to 4.9%. 

The adjusted unemployment rate, a statistic that includes people who wanted a job, but did not look for one, was 7.2%, dipping below pre-pandemic levels for the first time. This occurs as the participation rate for the core-aged population reached a record 88.6%. 

The unemployment rate for core-aged immigrants who landed in Canada within the previous five years fell to 8.3%. This is the lowest such level since data became available in 2006, but remains significantly higher than the 4.5% level experienced by Canadian-born workforce members. Unemployment amongst visible minorities was also elevated, at 6.1%. 

Services and Goods Producing Sectors Lead the Way

The services producing sector saw an increase of 42,000 jobs in March, with accommodation and food services, as well as public administration seeing significant growth. 

The goods producing sector also added jobs, with an increase of 31,000. This includes 14,000 new jobs in the construction industry, largely centered in Ontario. 

Worth noting, employment in the agriculture sector rose by 5,800 (+2.5%). This represents the first upward tick since Nov 2020. During that time, the industry had lost over 44,000 jobs. 

Gains Heaviest in Ontario and Quebec

Ontario added jobs for the second straight month, seeing an increase of 35,000, with construction and natural resources providing the biggest gains. Employment in the Toronto census metropolitan area has seen a substantial 7.3% increase year over year, which has been widespread across industries. 

Quebec added 27,000 jobs in March, mainly in accommodation and food services, public administration, and education services. 

New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island also saw job gains, while losses were experienced in Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. There was little change in Nova Scotia, Alberta, or British Columbia. 

Hybrid Work, Wages, and Upward Potential

20.7% of employees say that they usually work exclusively from home, which represents a 1.8% dip from the previous month. Meanwhile, those reporting hybrid work arrangements climbed 1.4% to 5.9%. 

Average hourly wages were 3.4% higher than they had been a year previous, a sign of a tight labour market. Worth noting, the Consumer Price Index was up 5.7% year over year in February. 

Asked whether their current job afforded good prospects for career advancement, 60.1% responded in the affirmative, up from 51.9% in 2016. There was a stark difference in responses from those in jobs typically requiring a bachelor’s degree (69.4%) vs those working in positions typically requiring a high school diploma (48.5%) 

IndustryMarch 2022 ChangeFebruary 2022 Change
Natural Resources ( Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction) 8.8 3.5
Transportation & Warehousing-9.8-1.5
Finance & Insurance5.013.2
Wholesale & Retail Trade10.037.9
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services-10.547.3
Information, Culture and Recreation4.472.7
Accommodation & Food Services15113.8
Business, Building & Other Support Services8.73.6
Figures displayed are Canada-wide and x 1000
Cited Sources
1 Government Of Canada, Statistics Canada. “Table 2 Employment by Class of Worker and Industry, Seasonally Adjusted .” Employment by class of worker and industry, seasonally adjusted, April 8, 2022.