Labor shortages increase as unemployment rate declines

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As unemployment rates across the country decline and Canada created tens of thousands of jobs in August, labor shortages continue to disrupt businesses.

The story of the Canadian labor market is easily told at the tables of the Savoy Brasserie in Westboro.

“We are a prime location. People should post resumes and ask us to work here,” said Managing Director Gordon Gifford. “It’s crazy.”

The restaurant, like many in the restaurant industry, cannot find enough staff. Help search ads now bring few results.

“We’re still stuck trying to find seasoned waiters, executives and cooks. Our executive chef hasn’t had a day off in months,” Gifford said.

For this reason, it is not surprising that the unemployment rate in Canada is declining. According to Statistics Canada, the country created 90,000 jobs in August, lowering the unemployment rate to 7.1%, the lowest since the start of the pandemic.

“Almost all of the jobs lost in the 18-month recession have been clawed back, which is good, great news,” said economist Ian Lee.

Ontario was among the provinces that created the most jobs last month, mostly concentrated in full-time work.

Locally, Ottawa’s unemployment rate improved to 7 percent from 7.6 percent last month.

“It’s uneven, not all industries are doing equally well, but it shows the economy is on a recovery path,” Lee said.

The economic gains come as some industries continue to battle pandemics. But restaurants like Savoy Brasserie are hoping that a better economy will translate into more customers and staff to feed them.

“We see a great future so it keeps you motivated,” Gifford said.

While this month’s employment figures indicate Canada is near pre-pandemic levels, some experts say the rabies economy is still far from a full recovery – especially with the worst of a coming fourth fall wave.


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