8.1% unemployment rate

+0.6% from previous month
-5.0% from previous year

Compare with provinces

18,627,200 jobs

-1.1% from previous month
+15.4% from previous year

Trends by age, sex and industry


Monthly unemployment rate (%) in Canada

Monthly employment (thousands) in Canada by age group, full-time and part-time

Monthly employment (thousands) in Canada by sex, full-time and part-time

Monthly employment (thousands) in Canada by industry


Resources and goods: Agriculture [NAICS 111-112, 1100, 1151-1152], Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas [21, 113-114, 1153, 2100], Utilities [22], Construction [23], Manufacturing [31-33]
Transportation and warehousing: NAICS 48-49
Customer services: Accommodation and food services [72], Other services [81], Wholesale and retail trade [41, 44-45]
Professional services: Business, building and other support services [55-56], Educational services [61], Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing [52-53], Health care and social assistance [62], Information, culture and recreation [51, 71], Professional, scientific and technical services [54], Public administration [91]

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April 2021 highlights

For definitions and full report, please visit the Statistics Canada website.

Third wave of pandemic leads to 207,000 jobs lost in April

The Canadian labour market suffered in April with the loss of 207,000 jobs and an increase in the unemployment rate by 0.6 percentage points to 8.1%. Ontario was hardest hit with 153,000 jobs lost in April.

Job losses across the country were both in full-time work (-129,000; 0.8%) and part-time work (-78,000; -2.3%) and are concentrated in industries directly impacted by public health restrictions, such as retail trade, accommodation and food services, and information, culture and recreation. The number of people working less than half their usual hours increased by 288,000 (+27.2%).

Even with the employment decline and an unemployment rate 2.4 percentage points higher than in February 2020 (pre-COVID), employers are struggling to recruit.

Why is it so hard to recruit right now?

Almost half a million Canadians (486,000; +4.6%) have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more. This includes 312,000 who have been without work for 52 weeks or more. There are 3 time more Canadians who have been unemployed for 52 weeks or more in April 2021 compared to February 2020. The number of people who wanted a job but did not look for one also increased in April by 54,000.

We have over half a million Canadians out of the work force for more than 27 weeks or that are not looking for work. Some job seekers are probably facing difficulties finding work in the same or related fields, or might not be ready to go back to work for various reasons (health or family matters), or expressed fear about working among groups even with social distancing measures in place. The results for employers are a smaller pool of available candidates and a more competitive market for talent, all of which puts more pressure on salary.

At Adecco, we monitor online job seeker behaviour and although the number of job seekers browsing online job postings has diminished, the main issue is a drop in the apply rate in most Canadian markets. This tends to confirm that job seekers are looking but can’t find satisfying job or have delayed their return to work while waiting for the right opportunity. To be successful, employers must up their game and switch the conversation from what they need in an employee to what they are offering potential new hires.

Offer working from home options

With the number of Canadians working from home increasing by 100,000 in April to 5.1 million workers across the country, offering remote work options where feasible is a must to be competitive on the market. Moreover, workers are looking for permanent arrangements so temporary working from home options are not as appealing.


Statistics Canada. (2021). Table 14-10-0287-01 Labour force characteristics, monthly, seasonally adjusted and trend-cycle, last 5 months [Data table]. https://doi.org/10.25318/1410028701-eng

Statistics Canada. (2021). Table 14-10-0355-01 Employment by industry, monthly, seasonally adjusted and unadjusted, and trend-cycle, last 5 months (x 1,000) [Data table]. https://doi.org/10.25318/1410035501-eng

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