The latest Labour Force Survey was more positive than expected, but Canada is still a long way from returning to its pre-pandemic economy.
February 2021 marked 12 months of "unprecedented changes in the Canadian labour market" due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Statistics Canada said in its monthly jobs report on Friday, March 12.
Here's a look at the latest news about the COVID economy.
Compared with 12 months earlier, there were 599,000 fewer people employed and 406,000 more people working less than half their usual hours. That puts employment 3.1 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.
The employment rate — the percentage of people 15 and up who are employed — was 59.4 per cent in February compared with 61.8 per cent in Feb 2020.
It plummeted to 51.5 per cent in April, the lowest it's been since comparable numbers have been kept and still hasn't climbed all the way back.
But there is lots of good News:
> Canada added 259,000 jobs in February, recovering most of the jobs it lost in the previous two months during tighter pandemic restrictions.
> The unemployment rate dropped from 9.4% to 8.2%, the lowest rate since March 2020, when the pandemic was declared.
> The increase in employment is the biggest since September and handily exceeded analysts' expectations of 75,000 added jobs and an unemployment rate of 9.2%
> Both part-time and full-time work increased and long-term unemployment fell by 9.7 per cent from a record high of 512,000 in January.
> Among people who worked at least half their usual hours, increased by 600,000 as schools and other workplaces reopened in several provinces, the agency said.
Statistics Canada separately reported strong production capacity and factory sales data and said Canadians continued to add to their personal savings and net worth at far higher rates than before the pandemic.
The Canadian dollar, meanwhile, strengthened to 1.25 to the greenback, or 80 US cents, after the data.