Research Briefing | Feb 29, 2024

The Canadian labour market is not as healthy as it looks

On the surface, January’s headline jobs figures paint a healthy picture of the Canadian labour market, but a closer look suggests that things are not so rosy. Recent job gains have been mostly public-sector and part-time positions amid growing evidence of rapidly cooling hiring by businesses. Labour demand has not been strong enough to absorb the international migration-led population boom, and there appears to be more underlying labour market slack than the higher unemployment rate suggests.

What you will learn:

  • Job gains during the past two months have been dominated by the public sector, while private-sector employment grew slightly and self-employment declined. All of the job gains were part-time, as full-time employment declined and involuntary part-time work ticked higher. These developments raise some questions about the general health of Canada’s market-based economy.
  • A surge in international migration has resulted in the labour supply growing at a much faster rate than employment, pushing the unemployment rate up by 0.7ppts over the past year. However, the full impact of the working-age population surge has not yet been reflected in the labour supply.
  • When these young people eventually begin to look for a job and enter the labour force − depending on whether they obtain working rights or not − they will boost the participation rate and increase the labour supply.
Back to Resource Hub

Related Services

Canadian landscape


Canada Macro Service

Comprehensive coverage of the Canadian economy, providing clients with all of the information they need to assess the impact of developments in the economy on their business.

Find Out More
Canadian flag in front of commercial building


Canadian Province and Metro Service

Data and forecasts for Canadian provinces and metropolitan areas.

Find Out More


Canada Provincial Territorial Model

A rigorous and comprehensive framework to develop forecasts, scenarios and impact analysis at the national, provincial and territorial levels.

Find Out More