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Canada’s Workforce Expands Despite Rising Unemployment Amid Population Growth

Austin Campbell



Canada's Workforce Expands

In November 2023, Canada experienced a slight uptick in its unemployment rate, reaching 5.8%. Despite the addition of 25,000 jobs, the increase highlights a persistent trend where population growth continues to outpace employment gains, resulting in a cumulative 0.8% rise since April.

Youth Unemployment Surges

A notable aspect of this trend is the disproportionate impact on the youth demographic. From April to November, the unemployment rate among those aged 15 to 24 surged by 2% points, reaching a concerning 11.6%. In contrast, increases for those aged 25 to 54 and 55 and older were comparatively lower, at 0.6% and 0.7%, respectively.

Rise in Layoffs

The challenging employment climate in 2023 is reflected in the increase in the number of people laid off from their previous jobs compared to the previous year. In November, over 68.7% of the unemployed had been laid off from their previous positions, a significant rise from the 62.6% recorded in November 2022.

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Integration Challenges for Immigrants

Despite immigrants playing an increasingly vital role in Canada’s labor market, integration challenges persist. Recent immigrants (arriving in the last five years) with foreign credentials or work experience faced significant hurdles, with nearly 58.2% encountering difficulties finding work related to their backgrounds in the past two years.

Manufacturing and Construction Sectors on the Rise

Examining sector-specific dynamics, the manufacturing sector added 28,000 jobs in November, while construction saw a boost of 16,000 jobs. Conversely, wholesale and retail trade experienced a loss of 27,000 workers, and the finance sector dropped by 18,000


Regional Variances and Private Sector Resurgence

On a regional level, New Brunswick experienced a 0.6% employment increase, while Prince Edward Island witnessed a 1.4% decline. Notably, the private sector marked a resurgence, adding 38,000 employees in November—the first increase since June—while the self-employed sector decreased by 25,000.

Economic Immigration Opportunities

In light of these challenges, employers seeking skilled workers can leverage Canadian immigration programs such as the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the Global Talent Stream (GTS). These programs offer avenues for quick processing, attracting global talent to fill critical roles and contribute to Canada’s economic growth.

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