Employment increased last month, offsetting losses in January

Posted: 03.14.2022
After job losses at the beginning of the year, employment rose in February by 1.8 percentage points (337,000).

Employment growth last month was strongly driven by increases in the private sector, with gains most notable in accommodation and food services (+12.6%) and information, culture, and recreation industries (9.9%).

The public sector was little changed last month, in addition to self-employment, remaining at 246,000 (-8.5%) lower than in February 2020.
The overall employment rate, or the proportion of the population aged 15 and older who were employed, rose 1.0 percentage points to 61.8% in February, the first time it has returned to its pre-February 2020 level. 

Working from home and absences declined last month. During the February LFS reference week, 37.2% worked most of their hours from home, down 5.8 percentage points from January, and more than half (53.8%) worked all of their hours at locations other than home, up 4.0 percentage points from January (not seasonally adjusted).

Hours worked reached a record high in February, up 1.7% from the previous high recorded in February 2020. The monthly increase in hours worked was prominent in accommodation and food services (+14.0%); information, culture and recreation (+9.4%); and wholesale and retail trade (+4.6%), which have been impacted most strongly by public health measures.

The unemployment rate fell below its pre-COVID levels for the first time to 5.5% last month, lower than in February 2020 (5.7%) and just above the record low of 5.4% observed in May 2019.

The adjusted unemployment rate—which includes people who wanted a job but did not look for one—was 7.4% in February 2022.

Statistics Canada
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