The unemployment rate for immigrants who landed in Canada within the last five years was at an all-time low, according to Statistic Canada’s March Labor Force Survey.
The newly released report covered Canada’s labor market conditions for the week of March 13-19. During the reference week, provinces eased public health restrictions. All capacity limits and immunization record requirements have been lifted in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and Quebec.
Overall, Canada’s unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage point to 5.3%, the lowest rate since comparable data became available in 1976. Statistics Canada calculates the unemployment rate as the number of unemployed as a percentage of the labor force.
The adjusted unemployment rateewThis includes people who wanted a job but didn’t look for itewat 7.2% below the pre-pandemic level for the first time.
The unemployment rate for core-age immigrants who landed within the last five years was 8.3%, the lowest since comparable data became available in 2006. Canadian-born workers had an unemployment rate of 4.5%. The gap of 3.8 percentage points is the same as observed before the pandemic in March 2019.
“With the unemployment rate so low, virtually all industries are facing labor shortages, including hospitality, which has not yet fully recovered,” writes Nathan Janzen, assistant chief economist at RBC Economics.
Employment growth is outstripping population growth
Total employment in Canada rose by 73,000 in March due to the increase in full-time employment.
Job gains since September 2021 have outpaced population growth. Since September, when Canada’s employment first recovered from the pandemic, employment has grown 2.4%, compared with the population aged 15 and over, which has grown 0.8%.
Slow population growth combined with high vacancies and rapid employment growth is likely to be used as an argument for facilitating the entry of foreign workers. One way to counteract the downward pressure on the job market is to open the door to international talent.
Last week, Canada introduced measures to support temporary foreign workers to address labor shortages. Some of these measures are already in place, such as doubling the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Validity Period. LMIAs effectively show that a foreign worker will not take a Canadian worker’s job and are required for some work permits. The maximum length of employment for high-wage and Global talent stream employee was extended from two to three years. In addition, the number of low-wage positions that employers in seasonal industries can fill via the TFWP is no longer limited.
On April 30, two more measures will come into effect, including new rules on the proportion of foreign workers in an employer’s workforce. Canada will also end automatic rejection of LMIA applications for low-wage occupations in the lodging and hospitality and retail sectors in regions with an unemployment rate of 6% or more.
As for permanent immigration, Canada plans to welcome a new record number of newcomers this year. According to the 2022-2024 Immigration Level PlanCanada aims to take in 431,645 new arrivals in 2022.
Immigration is largely responsible for population growth in Canada. Statistics Canada’s 2021 census recently found that thanks to immigration, Canada had the fastest growing population in the G7. Four out of five of the 1.8 million people added to the population between the 2016 and 2021 censuses were both temporary residents or permanent status immigrants. The remaining population growth was due to the natural increase resulting from the difference between births and deaths.
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