Statistics Canada Labour Force Snapshot: August 2020

By on September 8, 2020 at 7:14am

According to the August Labour Force Survey Report from Statistics Canada, employment rose by 245,800 jobs in August, compared with 415,800 (+2.4%) in July, as economic activity curtailed by the pandemic continues to resume. Combined with gains of 1.2 million in May and June, this brought employment to within 1.1 million (-5.7%) of its pre-COVID February level.

The number of Canadians who were employed but worked less than half their usual hours for reasons likely related to COVID-19 fell by 259,000 (-14.6%) and the number of Canadians working from home declined for the fourth consecutive month. Among Canadians who worked their usual hours in August, the total number working from home fell by nearly 300,000 compared with July, while the number working at locations other than home increased by almost 400,000.

Some of the areas showing job growth include:

  • Accommodation and food services (52,300)
  • Manufacturing: (35,800)
  • Educational services (29,1000)
  • Wholesale and retail trade (23,900)

Unemployment rate at 10.2%

The unemployment rate fell 0.7 percentage points to 10.2% in August. As a result of the COVID-19 economic shutdown, the unemployment rate had more than doubled from 5.6% in February to a record high of 13.7% in May.

In August, 864,000 Canadians moved out of unemployment while 725,000 entered unemployment. The majority of those who left unemployment became employed (58.3%), while most of those who became unemployed in August (59.2%) had been out of the labour force in July.

What employers need to know

Many companies turn to skilled interim professionals for assistance during times of the year when workloads spike. Back-to-school season is typically one of those periods. Of course, it’s by no means typical this year, given that some schools are providing remote or hybrid learning options because of the pandemic. And that has many working parents and other caregivers facing some major challenges. 

By bringing temporary employees on board, companies can ease the burden on their core team members and keep critical projects moving forward. This show of support for overwhelmed and time-strapped employees can also help boost retention. Recent research by our company found that 60 per cent of workers are more motivated to be employed at an organization that values its staff during unpredictable times.

But that’s not the only reason employers may want to consider engaging interim workers. Many organizations are trying to position themselves for growth in the months ahead. Yet some remain cautious about hiring full-time workers while unpredictability persists. This is when a flexible staffing strategy is ideal. Using skilled temporary workers allows businesses to quickly add talent as it’s needed it and dial down the support interim professionals provide as the demand wanes.

What job seekers need to know

It’s back-to-school time for many. Supervising children who are learning remotely — even if it’s only a few days a week — can be a monumental challenge. And, if you’re conducting a job search at the same time, high levels of stress and frustration are likely to result. 

Try to set aside designated time throughout the day to look for opportunities and engage in professional networking online. Consider using an approach called “windowed work” — breaking up your day into distinct chunks of business and personal time. Robert Half found that three-quarters (75 per cent) of office professionals surveyed in Canada said their job allows for windowed work and of those respondents, nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) reported the arrangement leads to greater productivity.

So, for example, a job seeker using this approach might set aside “windows” when they know their child will be focused on learning or engaged in a low-supervision activity to apply to new opportunities, polish their resume or meet with employers. One bright spot: Many interviews are happening by video right now. That gives you more flexibility to schedule an interview for a time when you’re less likely to be distracted or interrupted.



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