Shock wave on the labour market

Onde de choc sur le marché du travail

Photo: Valérian Mazataud The Duty
The sector of accommodation and catering has suffered the greatest losses with a decline of more than 40% of the total number of hours worked.

We knew, with the pandemic of COVID-19 and the policy of containment of the government to impede it, that the figures on employment in Canada would be bad for the last month, but the magnitude and the speed of the fall remains impressive. A little more than 3 million, or 16 % of canadian workers have lost their jobs or seen their working hours reduced by at least half in the space of only a month. In Quebec, the shock is proportionately even more brutal, with more than 800 000 affected workers, more than one worker in six (18 %).

In the front line in this battle, the sector of accommodation and catering has suffered the greatest losses with a decline of more than 40 % of the total number of hours worked, followed by the world of information, culture and recreation to more than 30 %, and, much later, by the retail trade (- 7 %), several stores are still in business at the time of the survey, Statistics Canada.

The workers who are the most modest and the most vulnerable are the first to be affected, half of the decline in employment being wiped by people earning less than two-thirds of the median hourly wage and the proportion of temporary workers to lose their jobs (15.8 per cent) revealing itself to be three times higher than that of permanent workers (5.3 per cent).

The ice storm

At, respectively, 7.5% and 8.1 per cent during the week from 15 to 21 march, the unemployment rate in Canada and Quebec was still far away, of course, from their peaks of 13.1% and 15.8 % of the years 80. But wait until you see the figures for the month of April, puts itself in the custody of Statistics Canada.

In fact, says the Agency, the formidable stroke of the brake applied to the economy by the new coronavirus and control policies of the governments seems to be less, for the moment, to recessions of the past the impact that it had had the ice storm in 1998, but eight times worse, and this, only for the month of march.

The question now is how long it will take to this blanket of ice to melt ? If we look to countries, such as China or Austria, which are entered in this health crisis before us, and on the condition that we strive also to avoid the crashing waves of infections, we can expect the beginning of a return to normal somewhere in the course of the next three months, said the economists of the CIBC Bank in an analysis Wednesday.

The rebound of the economy and the job market will not, however, be as marked as their downfall the last few weeks, they warned, especially in the sectors the most affected. The rules of social distancing of governments will not be lifted for a shot, and the people will not get no more to dream of foreign travel or walkabout overnight. And then, it is estimated already, ” said the CIBC, that 10 % of the approximately 100 000 restaurants in Canada will re-open ever their doors and that this proportion will have doubled the next month.

For a return of the spring

However, it is not said that the employment will not return to its ranging of the beautiful days in Quebec, aided by the pressure exerted by the scarcity of labour, concluded on Thursday an analysis of the Quebec Institute. But to do this, the emergency financial assistance of the governments shall continue to encourage the maintenance of the employment relationship between workers and their enterprises, support the industrial sectors most affected by the crisis and reduce the number of long-term unemployed specific programmes of training and hiring.

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