Hours worked by Canadian workers fell by 1.9 per cent in April, despite the market adding 15,000 net new jobs, indicating yet another increase in work absences due to illness.
In fact, April proved to be one of the worst months of the pandemic with 9 per cent of employees off work due to illness. The lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in combination with the lifting of mask mandates across Canada are most likely contributing to the increased cases of illness, sparking another pandemic wave. The one saving grace is that April’s worker illness number wasn’t as high as January’s 10.4 per cent rate.
The 15,000 net new jobs were also a bit of a disappointment. Higher numbers were expected after two very solid months which saw 409,000 jobs added.
The unemployment rate meanwhile has reached a new low of 5.2 per cent.
“With 826,000 unfilled job vacancies, employers are desperate to hire; I expect the unemployment rate to drop below 5 per cent in the coming months,” said Stephen Tapp, chief economist with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
Tapp added he is also still waiting for stronger signs of wage pressures.
“Average hourly wages were only up 3.3 per cent year-on-year, which remains well below the current rate of inflation (6.7 per cent),” Tapp said.