Bagnall: Capital region job market not as strong as numbers suggest


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This lines up with the May jobless rates for Toronto (15.4 per cent), Montreal (15.2 per cent) and Vancouver (14.1 per cent).

Of course, the capital region’s economy has some important advantages that might have slowed the reduction in employment somewhat, most notably a disproportionately large public sector and some very strong tech firms. Combined, the latter two sectors account for 30 per cent of the region’s workforce — and their employment levels appear to have held up throughout the pandemic.

As in other cities, however, the pandemic has hit key sectors here with exceptional force.  Overall, Statcan reported that Ottawa-Gatineau’s employment collapsed to 695,700 in May — down nearly 73,000 from the pre-pandemic month of February.  Again, this almost certainly severely understates the actual job loss because it’s a three-month blended average.  Data for industry sectors, in addition, are unadjusted for seasonal influences.  Nevertheless, the industry snapshot for May offers insight into how physical distancing has affected different parts of our economy.

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