Business

Canada added 337,000 jobs last month, twice what was expected

Canada's job market bounced back in a big way in February, shaking off the losses brought about from the Omicron variant with a hiring surge that was enough to push the unemployment rate below where it was before the pandemic started.

Unemployment rate pushed down to 5.5% — below where it was before the pandemic

Canada adds 337,000 jobs in February, unemployment below pre-pandemic levels

11 months ago
Duration 2:02
The Canadian economy added more than 330,000 jobs in February, almost three times what economists predicted, while the unemployment rate fell below pre-pandemic levels.

Canada's job market bounced back in a big way in February, shaking off the losses brought about by the Omicron variant with a hiring surge that was enough to push the unemployment rate below where it was before the pandemic started.

Statistics Canada reported Friday that Canada added 337,000 new jobs in February, pushing the jobless rate down to 5.5 per cent.

That's lower than the 5.7 per cent jobless rate seen in February 2020, before the advent of COVID-19. It's also just shy of the all-time record low of 5.4 per cent, reached in May 2019.

A wave of lockdowns aimed at slowing the spread of the Omicron variant resulted in significant job losses in January, but February's surge was more than enough to offset that.

WATCH | How many jobs did Omicron cost Canada's economy:

How many jobs did Omicron cost Canada?

12 months ago
Duration 2:02
While Canada lost 200,000 jobs in January because of Omicron, economists say the future should be looking brighter as soon as the pandemic relents, Alison Northcott reports.

Sectors that have been hardest hit by COVID rebounded, with the food and accommodation sector adding 114,000 new jobs.

"As Canadians ventured out of their homes again in February, businesses in accommodation and food services and information, culture and recreation were scrambling to rehire workers," said economist Royce Mendes with Desjardins.

There were signs of recovery throughout the numbers. The total number of hours worked surged by 3.6 per cent in February, enough to finally put that figure above where it was before the pandemic.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pete Evans

Senior Business Writer

Pete Evans is the senior business writer for CBCNews.ca. Prior to coming to the CBC, his work has appeared in the Globe & Mail, the Financial Post, the Toronto Star, and Canadian Business Magazine. Twitter: @p_evans Email: pete.evans@cbc.ca

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