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Employment Rates Drop as Omicron Surges

As the cases of Omicron surge during the fifth wave of Covid-19 this January employment rates have once again dropped. Statistics Canada reported that Canada lost 200,000 jobs and the unemployment rate rose to 6.5%. Before Omicron the unemployment rate was at 6%. 

According to CIC News, a large part of the increase is “due to temporary lay-offs and people who were scheduled to start working in the near future.”

The largest decline was seen in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, with Ontario losing over 145,700 jobs and Quebec losing 63,000. This was due to public health measures that included capacity limits and closures of restaurants, bars and gyms. The food service and accommodation industry were hit the hardest followed by information, culture & recreation and retail trade.

Demographically speaking job losses were highest among younger workers with 15-to-24 years old losing 93,000 part-time jobs and 46,000 full-time positions. Another significant decline was for women aged 25 to 54 who lost 43,000 part-time jobs. Jobs men in this same age category were steady. This is the first rise we have seen in unemployment in nine months. 

However, not all provinces were affected by this change. Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Manitoba all saw an increase in jobs. Alberta added over 7000 jobs, causing the provincial unemployment rate to drop by 0.3% compared to December. British Columbia added 4200 jobs, Saskatchewan 3900, Nova Scotia 2700 and Manitoba 800. 

While the number of jobs added across Canada was lower than the number lost, employment remains at pre-pandemic levels. The industries that saw the highest employment increase were in the goods-producing sector, construction and natural resources. 

Employment is expected to pick up once again once public health measures are relaxed, and we can contain the spread of the virus. 

Sources (2022, February 7). Canada Employment Feels Strain of Omicron Wave of COVID-19. Retrieved from

Thevenot, S. (2022, February 6). Canada’s employment growth slows in January due to Omicron. Retrieved from CIC News:

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