Employment rose by 246,000 in August, compared with 419,000 in July, according to the latest jobs data from Statistics Canada.
Combined with gains of 1.2 million in May and June, this brought employment to within 1.1 million 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 per cent) in August. Combined with declines in May, June and July, this left COVID-related absences from work at 713,000 (+88.3 per cent) above February levels.
By mid-August, the total number of Canadian workers affected by the COVID-19 economic shutdown stood at 1.8 million. In April, this number peaked at 5.5 million, including a 3.0 million drop in employment and a 2.5 million increase in COVID-related absences from work.
All of the employment increase in August was in full-time work, which rose by 206,000 (+1.4 per cent), while the number of part-time workers was little changed.
Employment growth in the goods-producing sector was almost entirely attributable to manufacturing (+29,000; +1.8 per cent) in August, with the gains concentrated in Ontario, Quebec and B.C. Employment in manufacturing reached 95.3 per cent of its pre-COVID-19 level.
Meanwhile, the number of people employed in the natural resources sector declined by 9,000 (-3.0 per cent), with most of the decrease in Alberta (-7,000; -5.0 per cent). Capital expenditures in the oil and gas extraction industries declined by over half (54 per cent) from the first quarter to the second quarter, including spending on exploration and evaluation. Nevertheless, employment in the natural resources sector was within 95.9 per cent of its February level and remained above the all-industry average.