Statistics Canada December Labour Force Snapshot: Unemployment Rises Slightly to 8.6%

By Robert Half on January 11, 2021 at 1:45pm

According to the December Labour Force Survey Report from Statistics Canada, employment declined by 62,600 (-0.3%) in December as employers continued to grapple with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business, while the unemployment rate rose slightly to 8.6%.

This month’s report reflects public health measures introduced earlier in the fall that remained in place in Manitoba and much of Quebec. In several other provinces, new restrictions were introduced since November with Nova Scotia introducing targeted measures in the urban core of the Halifax Regional Municipality on November 26 and a lockdown implemented in Ontario in Toronto and Peel on November 23 then extended to Windsor and York on December 11. Prince Edward Island entered a two-week shutdown on December 7 and in Alberta targeted measures introduced on November 24 required the closure of many entertainment and recreation facilities. Saskatchewan also introduced capacity limits for many businesses and activities on November 27.

What employers need to know

You might expect your team members to start the new year with a sense of energy and excitement. But after a tumultuous 2020, your staff may still be feeling worn out, even with a holiday break. Research by our company suggests many workers are feeling overloaded and under pressure.

A survey we conducted found that 34 percent of employees working remotely were regularly putting in more than eight hours per day and more than half (55 per cent) of professionals who transitioned to a remote setup as a result of the pandemic said they work on the weekend. 

So, check in with your team members, especially those working remotely, to gauge how they’re feeling now, before things start to get really busy. And to help your staff maintain a healthy work-life balance this year, consider strategies such as:

  • Promoting “windowed work” — letting employees break up their day into distinct chunks of business and personal time.
  • Improving health and wellness offerings (which can also boost your hiring efforts).
  • Bringing in temporary professionals to keep critical work moving forward.

Get more ideas for supporting your employees’ mental health and well-being..

What job seekers need to know

The start of the year is typically an excellent time to look for a new job. Many companies have fresh hiring budget to spend and new initiatives to staff. 

Of course, given the ongoing pandemic and related business uncertainty, it might take longer than you’d like to land a job. It’s easy to get discouraged. But it’s important to be persistent in your job search efforts so you don’t miss a great opportunity.

Here are some strategies for keeping up the momentum and staying motivated:

  • Maintain a schedule. Set aside a specific amount of time every day to devote to research, applying to jobs and networking online with professional contacts. 
  • Work with a specialized staffing firm, like Robert Half. Our recruiters often know about available jobs before they’ve even been advertised, and they’ll help advocate for you with employers. 
  • Invest in your well-being. Take time to engage in activities, like exercise, that can help keep you feeling energized and positive as you look for work. 

Get tips on how to find remote jobs now.


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