People dine at a restaurant in Vancouver, on Tuesday, September 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

People dine at a restaurant in Vancouver, on Tuesday, September 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Economy added 31,000 jobs in October, unemployment rate hits pandemic-era low

The economy added 31,000 jobs in October, Statistics Canada reported Friday, bringing the national unemployment rate to a pandemic-era low.

Unemployment came in at 6.7 per cent, down from 6.9 per cent in September, to mark the fifth consecutive monthly decline in the rate.

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate would have been 8.7 per cent in October, down from 8.9 per cent in September, had it not included in calculations Canadians who wanted to work but didn’t search for a job.

Gains were seen across a number of industries, including the hard-hit retail sector, but offset by declines elsewhere, such as accommodation and food services.

Retail trade added 72,000 jobs in October that Statistics Canada notes pushed the industry back to its pre-pandemic levels for the first time since March.

The statistics agency also notes a decline in self-employment, but suggests some of those moved to more permanent and in-demand jobs like in the professional, scientific and technical services sector.

Statistics Canada also says the ranks of Canada’s long-term unemployed, those who have been out of work for six months or more, was little changed in October at almost 380,000.

Leah Nord, senior director of workforce strategies for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, says October’s jobs report points to the uphill climb that remains before the labour market fully heals from COVID-19.

She notes that there are almost 900,000 job vacancies that need to be filled, adding that task is going to be more difficult than recovering the three million jobs lost at the onset of the pandemic, which the country achieved in September.

“The fact is the hard part begins now,” she says in a statement.

“Talent is an issue in every sector, at every level of the value chain, in every part of the country, and there’s no silver-bullet-fix at hand.”

—The Canadian Press

RELATED: B.C.’s latest COVID-19 restrictions cost thousands of service jobs

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