Statistics Canada Labour Force Snapshot: May 2020

By on June 5, 2020 at 12:13pm

The May Statistics Canada Labour Report offered some good news after a difficult April: Employers added nearly 290,000 jobs last month, while the number of people who worked less than half their usual hours dropped by 292,000 (-8.6%). Combined, these changes represented a recovery of 10.6% of the COVID-19-related employment losses  and absences that we saw through March and April.

Of the jobs added in May, 61,900 were in the accommodation and food services industry, which has seen deep payroll cuts since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. These sectors also saw strong growth in May:

  • Construction: 132,600 jobs added
  • Manufacturing: 120,500 jobs added
  • Retail trade: 112,100 jobs added

Unemployment rate increases to 13.7%

From March to April, the labour force—the total of all those who are either employed or unemployed—dropped by 1.7 million (-8.5%). In May, this trend reversed, and the labour force increased by 491,000 (+2.6%), as employment began to rebound (+290,000; +1.8%). In May, unemployment grew more slowly (+201,000; +8.3%) than in the previous two months. Growth in unemployment was driven instead by an increase in job seekers, especially re-entrants to the labour force who had worked within the past year.

What employers need to know

There is a large pool of available talent right now, but that doesn’t make hiring any easier. Here’s why:

  • There are more resumes to wade through — and more video interviews to conduct. It takes a lot of time and effort to find the right candidate among the overwhelming volume of applications, especially if you’re also trying to get your business running like normal again. 
  • Even with more people looking for jobs, you still miss a key segment of the labour pool: employed professionals who are searching for new employment opportunities confidentially.
  • If you’re hiring for a remote position, it can be challenging to reach potential candidates outside your local market and then determining if the individuals who catch your attention are well-suited to work from home.

All this and more is why now may be a good time to establish a relationship with a specialized staffing firm like Robert Half. You’ll increase your chances of connecting quickly with candidates who have just the right mix of technical and soft skills to help your business thrive in the new normal.

What job seekers need to know

Businesses are starting to reopen, but the job market remains challenging. That said, there is a lot you can do right now to position yourself for job search success. For example:

  • Devote more time to expanding your online network
  • Leverage the contacts you already have to find leads on employment opportunities — or at least get valuable career advice.
  • Update your resume and LinkedIn profile to ensure they emphasize your experience — and your potential — in the best light. 
  • Take online courses to earn new skills or certifications.
  • Study job descriptions to make sure your application materials align with what your target employers are typically looking for in potential hires.

Also consider reaching out to a recruiter. A staffing professional can give you sound career guidance and help connect you with relevant job leads — including positions not listed on public job boards. And staffing specialists with firms like Robert Half can even assist you in finding remote work, a path you might not have considered before. Temporary work opportunities arranged by a staffing firm might also be an option if you have the right skills and experience.